Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met Monday with a delegation of eight senior Turkish print journalists the Foreign Ministry brought to Israel in an attempt to “break the ice” with Turkey’s public.

The delegation, representing such leading Turkish newspapers as Hurriyet, Zaman and Haber Turk, met with Netanyahu a day after meeting with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.

Neither Netanyahu’s nor Liberman’s office was willing to discuss the meetings, apparently having pledged to keep the content quiet until the journalists themselves could write about them later this week.

While this was not the first group of Turkish journalists to visit the country since the May 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, which plunged relations between Israel and Turkey into a downward spiral, it was the first to meet Israel’s senior leadership.

A previous group met with Ministers Bennie Begin and Dan Meridor.

Israel’s embassy in Ankara, which has been operating without an ambassador since Turkey evicted him after Israel refused to apologize for the Mavi Marmara raid, organized the latest delegation.

One diplomatic official said the delegation was invited because Israel was interested in reaching out to the Turkish public and letting it know that relations between the two countries were important to Jerusalem.

“Our message is that we need to speak about our problems in good will and without mutual recriminations, especially at a time when the Middle East is in upheaval,” the official said.

The official doubted that the Turkish Foreign Ministry would reciprocate with an invitation to Israeli journalists because Ankara was not interested in outreach to the Israeli public at this time.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger