Turkish FM to Visit Israel in May to Discuss Gas Pipeline, Reappointing Ambassadors

Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador in 2018 in response to the shooting of Gaza border protesters ■ Israeli sources say visit is yet to be scheduled

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a news conference in Antalya, Turkey March 10, 2022.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a news conference in Antalya, Turkey March 10, 2022.Credit: REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Turkey's foreign minister says he will visit Israel and the Palestinian territories with the country's energy minister in mid-May, following talks on energy cooperation between the countries.

Israeli sources said that a visit has not yet been scheduled.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also said he would discuss the appointment of ambassadors to Israel with his counterpart Yair Lapid during the May visit.

Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador to Ankara in response to the killing of 61 Palestinians during protests along the border with Gaza in 2018. Turkey also withdrew its ambassador at that time.

Cavusoglu said that a possible Turkey-Israel gas pipeline would not be possible to realize in the short term, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett discussed the subject, according to reports last month.

The discussions had focused on a possible plan to carry Israeli natural gas to Europe.

Last week, President Erdogan said Naftali Bennett could visit Turkey in the coming months, though an Israeli source said that there are no concrete plans for such a visit at this time.

Earlier in March, Erdogan said he believed Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s visit to Turkey would be a turning point in long-strained relations between the regional powers, and that Ankara was ready for cooperating in the energy sector.

The president has been pushing for warmer ties with Israel in recent months against the backdrop of a severe economic crisis in Turkey and Erdogan’s simultaneous efforts to upgrade diplomatic ties with other countries in the region, first and foremost Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

Michael Hauser-Tov contributed to this report.

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