Israeli President Herzog to visit Turkey on March 9

Israeli President Herzog to visit Turkey on March 9

Israeli President Herzog to visit Turkey on March 9

Israeli President Isaac Herzog will pay a visit to Turkey upon the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 9 and 10 as part of an ongoing joint effort to normalize relations between the two countries, Turkish media reported on Feb. 15.

According to the reports, Erdoğan’s chief foreign policy adviser, İbrahim Kalın, and deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal will hold meetings with both Palestinian and Israeli authorities on Feb. 16 and 17 ahead of Herzog’s visit.

Kalın and Önal will be received by Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas and will hold talks with their Israeli counterparts. There were reports in the Israeli media that the director general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Alon Ushpiz, had paid an announced visit to Ankara in the past weeks to meet Kalın for the preparation of the president’s visit to Turkey.

In Palestine, the Turkish diplomats are expected to convey the message that the normalization process with Israel does not mean that Turkey will abandon its longstanding policy on and support to Palestine.

“Normalizing our relations with Israel does not mean giving up our basic position on the Jerusalem cause, the Palestinian cause and the Masjid al-Aqsa. We will not normalize our ties at the expense of the Palestinian cause,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğülu had told the broadcaster TRT Haber. He had added that this was well-known by the Israelis as well.

Erdoğan, in a statement in the past weeks, had announced that his special envoys would go to Israel before Herzog’s visit to Ankara.

Kalın and Önal are expected to discuss the details of the Erdoğan-Herzog meeting and the political context within which the normalization process will undergo. The two countries are planned to announce the appointment of ambassadors and a road map for political, economic, touristic and energy cooperation between the two nations.

Turkey and Israel were in talks since last year for the normalization of ties. Erdoğan and Herzog held phone conversations to discuss the ties and ways to mend them by exchanging ambassadors after a four-year incommunicado.

Turkey had withdrawn its ambassador and asked Israel to do the same after Israeli security forces had killed scores of Palestinians who were protesting Washington’s decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem under the Trump administration.