Erdogan plans to visit Israel
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who frequently accused Israel of being a “terrorist state,” said he plans to visit the country, without mentioning a date.
Erdogan also said antisemitism is a “crime against humanity,” the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported, citing a participant of Turkish president’s meeting with American Jewish leaders in New York on Monday.
Turkey and Israel are making efforts to mend relations that was deeply fractured more than a decade, over a string of disputed issues, including Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and Turkey’s close ties with Hamas which is designated as a terrorist organisation by Israel and the United States.
Erdogan on Monday, held a meeting with the leaders of American Jewish organizations in Turkish House in New York, on the sidelines of the UNGA77, JTA said. After his meeting with the Jewish leaders, Turkish President also held talks with Ronald Lauder, the President of the World Jewish Congress, Erdogan’s office said.
In the recent years, Erdogan frequently blamed Israel of being a “terrorist state” over its treatment of Palestinians in Jerusalem. In April 2018, Erdoğan lashed out at former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also calling him a “terrorist.” In May 2018, Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador and recalled its own envoy in Tel-Aviv over Israeli attacks on the Palestinians in Gaza.
Last month the two governments decided to restore full diplomatic relations and reappoint ambassadors, amid the bilateral efforts that seek to mend frayed ties.
Israeli Foreign Ministry on Monday announced the appointment of an ambassador to Ankara for the first time since 2018. Senior diplomat Irit Lillian will serve as the next envoy to Turkey, the Times of Israel reported.
Turkey is also set to reappoint an ambassador to Tel-Aviv. Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said a new decree including the appointment of an ambassador to Israel is ready to be presented to President Erdogan.