Turkey’s Foreign Minister’s Visit to Israel is an Indication That Ties are Improving

Mevlut Cavusoglu’s journey to Israel this week would make him the first Turkish FM to travel to the nation in 15 years, marking the latest step in the countries’ reunion after years of strained relations.

Cavusoglu, who will be joined by Minister Of energy Fatih Donmez, is set to meet with Israeli colleague Yair Lapid on Wednesday, a day after meeting with Palestinian authorities.

Energy cooperation is anticipated to be at the top of the program, with Ankara showing openness to an Israeli-Turkish collaboration in a project that might transport Israeli gas to Turkey and then perhaps to Europe.

However, a broader subject is scheduled to be discussed: the re-establishment of official contacts at the ambassador position, after Turkey expelled the Israeli envoy in 2018, following Israel’s death of over 60 Palestinians in protest against the inauguration of a US embassy in Jerusalem.

That was the climax of a period of strained ties that had lasted since the late 2000s. The two nations have exchanged barbs over Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands and treatment of Palestinians, as well as Ankara’s support for Hamas, which administers the blockaded Gaza Strip.

They have also clashed on a number of other regional matters, including Egypt’s 2013 coup, the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement, the US army’s departure from Syria in 2019, and Turkey’s military actions in the same nation.

Nonetheless, it appears that both parties are ready to ignore this. In March, Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who mostly serves in a ceremonial capacity, paid a historic visit to Ankara, the Turkish capital – the first such visit since Shimon Peres’ trip in 2007.

Both Herzog and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated their desire to normalise relations, with Erdogan emphasising the necessity of future energy cooperation between the countries.

Despite Erdogan’s frequent public denunciation of Israeli activities against Palestinians, the two presidents have exchanged phone calls and letters subsequently.

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