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Erdogan says Israeli president will visit Turkey next month

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Turkey’s president says his Israeli counterpart, Isaac Herzog, is expected to visit Turkey next month as the two countries strive to bridge disagreements

ANKARA, Turkey — Israeli President Isaac Herzog is expected to visit Turkey next month, the Turkish president said, as the two countries strive to bridge their differences.

In an interview with the private television channel NTV on Wednesday evening, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his Israeli counterpart would visit in the first half of February.

“With this visit, a new era can begin in Israeli-Turkish relations,” Erdogan said.

Ties between Turkey and Israel – once close regional allies – have frayed under Erdogan, who is openly critical of Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians.

The countries withdrew their ambassadors in 2010 after Israeli forces stormed a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians who broke an Israeli blockade. The incident resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists.

Relations broke down again in 2018, after Turkey, angered by the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem, once again recalled its ambassador from Israel, prompting Israel to recall its envoy as well.

The Turkish and Israeli presidents have been talking to each other by phone since Herzog took office. Erdogan also spoke with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett after the release of an Israeli couple arrested in Istanbul on suspicion of spying.

The steps towards a rapprochement come as Turkey tries to end its international isolation by normalizing its troubled relations with several countries in the region, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Erdogan also told NTV television that he would visit the United Arab Emirates on February 14.

Erdogan says Israeli president will visit Turkey next month

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