Israeli FM to visit Türkiye this week

Israeli FM to visit Türkiye this week

Israeli FM to visit Türkiye this week

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will visit Türkiye on June 23, his office has said, amid efforts of the two countries’ to launch a new process for reconciling the ties.

The announcement came after Israeli President Isaac Herzog spoke over the phone with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and “thanked” him “for the efforts to thwart terrorist activities on Turkish soil,” according to a statement from the Israeli presidency.

The two leaders “agreed on maintaining cooperation for peace and stability as well as dialogue in the two countries’ relations and regional matters, including security and the fight against terrorism,” the Presidential Communications Directorate in the capital Ankara said.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu paid a visit to Israel in May for talks on the normalization of bilateral ties with the Israeli government in a first senior-level visit in 15 years.

“Herzog emphasised that the threat has not yet passed and that the counterterror efforts must continue,” it added. Lapid will visit Türkiye on Thursday and meet his counterpart, Çavuşoğlu, a statement by the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

On June 13, Lapid urged Israelis in Türkiye to leave “as soon as possible,” saying they faced “a real and immediate danger” from Iranian agents. The foreign minister cited “several Iranian attempts at carrying out terror attacks against Israelis on holiday in Istanbul.”

“If you are already in Istanbul, return to Israel as soon as possible,” he said. “If you have planned a flight to Istanbul, cancel it. No vacation is worth your life.” The stark warning came amid the latest surge in tensions between bitter rivals Iran and Israel, with Tehran blaming the Jewish state for a series of attacks on its nuclear and military infrastructure not only inside Iran but also inside Syria. In recent weeks, Israeli media carried several reports claiming that attacks on citizens in Türkiye were being planned.

Ankara, in response, said it’s taking necessary security measures in the fight against terrorism. Türkiye is a safe country and continues to fight against terrorism, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said.

Relations between former allies began to fray following an Israeli military operation in Gaza in 2008. Ties then froze following the death of 10 civilians following an Israeli raid on the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship, part of a flotilla trying to breach a blockade carrying aid into Gaza in 2010.
A 2016 reconciliation agreement that saw the return of ambassadors all but collapsed in 2018 in the wake of Gaza border clashes that killed dozens of Palestinians.

Türkiye and Israel had lowered the level of diplomatic representation to chargé d’affaires in 2018 after Türkiye protested the latter’s killing of scores of civilian Palestinians in a rally against the United States’ decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Herzog paid a visit to Türkiye in early March in a bid to break the ice between the two nations having strained relations.

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