Benny Gantz in Turkey
Benny Gantz in TurkeyElad Malka

Defense Minister Benny Gantz (National Unity) who is on an official work visit to Ankara will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Thursday at 3:30 PM at the Presidential Palace.

The meeting is in addition to the planned meeting with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar at the Ministry of Defense.

This is the first time in over a decade that an Israeli defense minister is meeting with his Turkish counterpart and government officials.

During the meeting, the ministers will renew the security ties between the nations.

A senior defense source stated regarding the upcoming visit: "For a few months, we have been testing the option of renewing the security ties. The background to this is of course the visit by President Herzog, the ties that were started between the foreign ministries, and with the cooperation of both sides, we have been slowly forming a renewed connection."

The source added: "At the beginning of September we held a secret meeting. Not with all of the secretive elements, but obviously, we didn't release it to the media, out of the will to keep things intimate. This in itself was a historic visit. There hasn't been a visit by defense officials in over a decade and we essentially renewed the connections and through the meeting came the idea for the two defense ministers to meet. This process comes out of the general approach that the Defense Minister instructed a few months ago, which includes the moves that we are currently making and will strengthen Israel's stability on the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean stages. Everything is part of our strategic vision against Iran."

The source affirmed that the security discussions with Turkey will be carried out carefully. "We aren't running for an intimate hug so quickly, everything is strictly examined by the Defense Minister. We are looking for a gentle and wary process, which will always be a step behind the diplomatic discussions between the Prime Minister and the Foreign Ministry on civilian-economic issues; to remind you, the economic ties with Turkey never ended. The entrance into the security realm is very sensitive, we are taking careful steps, and therefore don't expect a sudden race to purchase defense equipment."