Erdoğan claims Israel's President Herzog will visit Turkey next month

A visit to Turkey by Herzog will be the highest-level visit to the country since Shimon Peres visited Ankara in 2007.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a news conference following a cabinet meeting in Ankara, Turkey, December 14, 2020 (photo credit: PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a news conference following a cabinet meeting in Ankara, Turkey, December 14, 2020
(photo credit: PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

President Isaac Herzog will visit Turkey next month, opening a new page in strained bilateral relations, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.

There was no confirmation or denial from Herzog’s office.

A visit to Turkey by Herzog, who will travel to Abu Dhabi on Sunday, will be the highest-level visit to the country since president Shimon Peres visited Ankara in 2007. He came as the guest of Erdogan, then prime minister, and Abdullah Gul, then Turkey’s president.

Israel’s ties with Turkey quickly soured a year later, following Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, and particularly in 2010 after the Turkish flotilla that included the Mavi Marmara ship tried to break the Israeli naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The countries downgraded diplomatic relations and have not had ambassadors in each other’s country for several years.

 President Isaac Herzog. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) President Isaac Herzog. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Relations started to thaw in recent months, and last week Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu called Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, marking the first such call between the countries’ top diplomats in 13 years.

The call came days after Erdogan continued in his friendlier messages toward Israel.

Erdogan mentioned in at a news conference on Tuesday that he may meet with Herzog, and that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is “sending messages at different levels.”

In recent years, Turkey has harbored Hamas terrorists and backed destabilizing activities in east Jerusalem. Erdogan also accused Israel of intentionally killing Palestinian children.

He made overtures toward Israel throughout 2021, a reversal that may be related to Turkey’s declining economy and poor relations with the US.