U.N. General Assembly: Erdogan, Netanyahu Meet For First Time as Relations Thaw

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan is seen on a video screen in the U.N. General Assembly hall as he addresses the 78th session of the U.N. General Assembly, in New York, Sept. 19. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)

New York (Reuters) — Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met for the first time in person on Tuesday, a milestone as the two countries have been slowly improving ties strained by disputes over policies toward the Palestinians.

The leaders, who held talks during the annual high-level United Nations General Assembly, agreed to visit each others’ countries soon, a statement from Netanyahu’s office said.

Israel’s top-rated Channel 12 TV said Erdogan may seek to mark the 100th anniversary of the Turkish republic next month with a pilgrimage to a major Yerushalayim mosque. There was no formal confirmation of the report.

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Relations between the former allies crashed after Israel’s forces killed 10 Turks in a 2010 raid on a pro-Palestinian activist ship that tried to breach its blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Ankara expelled Israel’s ambassador, a move reversed in 2016 but repeated two years later when it reciprocally expelled Turkey’s envoy in 2018.

A visit to Turkey by Israeli President Yitzchak Herzog in March 2022, followed by visits by both foreign ministers, helped the thaw.

Erdogan and Netanyahu discussed political, economic and regional topics as well as the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the Turkish presidency said in a post on social media.

Erdogan told Netanyahu that the two countries can cooperate on energy, technology, innovation, artificial intelligence, as well as cyber security, the presidency said.

Energy has emerged as a main area for potential cooperation.

“In the meeting, opportunities for energy cooperation primarily in areas like natural gas exploration, production and trade were discussed,” said Turkey’s Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar, who participated.

Turkey began a charm offensive in 2020 to repair ties with estranged rivals, making overtures to Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, as well as Israel.

Source: Hamodia


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