It will be the first time in 7 years that an Israeli president has travelled to Turkey to meet with President Recep Erdoğan, as the two nations work to repair their strained ties.
Erdoğan said after the discussion in a statement, “For Turkey-Israel relations, President Herzog’s visit will be historic. In the energy industry, Turkey is ready to collaborate with Israel.”
“Israel and Turkey could and should engage in a collaborative partnership that benefits the whole region,” he says.
“The next Diplomacy Forum in Antalya is bound to come about a conclusion,” he stated, pointing to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
“We are not always expecting to an agreement on everything,” Herzog told media at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport ahead of his trip. “Our relationship has had its highs and lows over the decades. However, we will try to re-establish our bilateral connections with caution and equal trust,” he stated.
Oil and gas are of great relevance to the Turkish and Israeli governments. This visit will usher in a new era, according to Erdogan, who recalls a debate over 20 years ago about sending Israeli natural gas to Europe. Plans to create an undersea pipeline connecting Europe and the East Mediterranean have stagnated after the United States raised concern in January.
Bilateral concerns are poised to dominate the agenda as a result of nearly a decade of diplomatic turmoil between Israel and Turkey, which is a strong supporter of the Palestinian struggle.
The presidents of Turkey and Israel will meet on Saturday to discuss ways to improve collaboration as the competitors work to mend long-strained ties.
According to the release, both presidents will also discuss “recent local and global situations.”
According to Israeli officials, Herzog and Erdoğan may consider exporting Israeli gas supplies via Turkey. Erdoğan proposed this idea in January, in response to fears about decreasing supply following Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
Naftali Bennett, the Israeli prime minister, worked as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine on Saturday. He spent three hours at the Palace with Russian President Putin and chatted with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy three times in one day.
Before travelling to Turkey, Herzog recently visited Greece and the Greek Cypriot officials, in part to reassure the two Israeli partners.
Herzog will travel to Israel on Thursday after visiting with representatives of the Jewish communities in Turkey.