Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Recep Tayyip ErdoganReuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that Ankara welcomes the upcoming visit of President Isaac Herzog to Turkey and stressed that such a move after a long period of diplomatic freeze will have positive effects on bilateral ties.

Speaking to reporters accompanying him during a historical visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and quoted by the Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper, Erdogan said, "We had positive phone conversations with the president of Israel, Mr. Herzog, on various occasions. He is expected to visit our country in March. Of course, we welcome this visit. Hopefully, taking such a step after a long hiatus will be good for Turkey-Israel relations."

Herzog is expected to visit Turkey in early March, the report said. Meanwhile, a senior official delegation from Turkey will arrive in Israel as part of preparations for Herzog’s visit.

The Turkish delegation includes the Spokesperson and Chief Advisor to the President of Turkey, Ibrahim Kalin, and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Sedat Önal.

Erdogan said recently that Herzog would visit Turkey and a new page will be opened in the two countries’ strained bilateral relations.

Erdogan has been pushing to improve the strained relations between his country and Israel. Last month, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke on the phone with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, the first public telephone conversation between an Israeli foreign minister and a Turkish foreign minister in 13 years.

Turkey and Israel signed a comprehensive reconciliation deal in 2016, ending a six-year diplomatic standoff following a violent encounter between Israeli soldiers and Islamist radicals on a ship attempting to break through the security blockade on Gaza.

Even after the deal was signed, Erdogan has continued to verbally attack Israel. Several months ago, however, Herzog and Erdogan held a lengthy conversation shortly after Herzog took office.

The two also spoke following the release of Israeli couple Mordy and Natali Oknin from a Turkish prison.

Erdogan also spoke with Herzog and offered condolences following the passing of Herzog's mother, Aura Herzog.