Senior Turkish official at President's Residence
Senior Turkish official at President's ResidenceNo credit

A senior Turkish delegation, headed by Spokesperson and Senior Adviser to the Turkish President İbrahim Kalın and Deputy Foreign Minister Sadat Onal, visited Israel on Thursday and met with Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz together with CEO of the President’s Office Eyal Shviki and their teams.

In meetings held at both the Foreign Ministry and the President’s Residence, the parties discussed preparations for the visit of President Isaac Herzog to Turkey, bilateral ties between the two countries, as well as various regional issues.

Turkey and Israel have broad influence in the region, and both have agreed that the rehabilitation of relations can contribute to regional stability. During the meeting at the President’s Residence, Herzog entered the conference room and welcomed the guests from Turkey.

The visit by a senior delegation from Turkey reciprocates Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz’s visit to Turkey in December 2021, during which discussions about the President’s visit began.

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

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.