Turkish delegation visits Palestine, Israel
A Turkish delegation headed by Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın and Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal visited Palestine and Israel on Feb. 17, ahead of a rare visit by Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Turkey.
“We discussed the next steps to be taken for regional peace and stability,” Kalın said in a Twitter post regarding his visit to Israel and Palestine.
“During our visit to Palestine and Israel, we covered bilateral and regional issues, we discussed Palestine, Jerusalem and Masjid al-Aqsa, Israeli President Mr. Herzog’s visit to Turkey and the next steps to be taken for regional peace and stability,” he said.
“The parties discussed preparations for the visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Turkey, bilateral ties between the two countries, as well as various regional issues,” Herzog’s office and the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a joint statement.
“Turkey and Israel have broad influence in the region, and both have agreed that the rehabilitation of relations can contribute to regional stability,” the Israeli statement added.
The Turkish delegation met with Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz together with Eyal Shviki from the President’s Office and their teams. During the meeting at the President’s Residence, Herzog entered the conference room and welcomed the guests from Turkey.
The delegation also met Palestinian authorities on Feb. 16 and met with Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas
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 the relations between the two countries.
In a television interview last month, Erdoğan said he expected Herzog to visit, hailing the trip as an opportunity to “open a new chapter in relations between Turkey and Israel.”
Erdoğan has also said he was ready to cooperate with Israel on a gas pipeline project in the eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey and Israel were in talks since last year for normalizing the 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Turkey had withdrawn its ambassador and asked Israel to do the same after Israeli security had killed scores of Palestinians who were protesting Washington’s decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018.