Lapid to visit Turkey amid cooperation against Iranian terror threat

Herzog, Erdogan discuss Iranian cell trying to attack, abduct Israeli tourists

 Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu makes a joint statement with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. (photo credit: ASSI EFRATI/GPO)
Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu makes a joint statement with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
(photo credit: ASSI EFRATI/GPO)

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid plans to visit Ankara and meet with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, on Thursday.

Israeli authorities are continuing to warn Israelis against visiting Turkey, especially Istanbul, because of an Iranian terrorist cell that is believed to be targeting Israeli tourists for attacks or abductions.

Lapid began planning a trip to Ankara soon after Cavusoglu’s visit to Jerusalem last month. However, he decided to go earlier because of the close cooperation between Israel and Turkey against the Iranian terrorist threat.

Herzog and Bennett

The terrorist threat against Israelis visiting Istanbul is ongoing, President Isaac Herzog said Sunday, following a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Herzog thanked Erdogan for Turkey’s efforts to thwart terrorist attacks.

The cooperation between Israeli and Turkish security forces has contributed to trust being built between the governments and nations, Herzog said.

“The threat has not yet passed and the counterterrorism efforts must continue.”

President Isaac Herzog

“The threat has not yet passed and the counterterrorism efforts must continue,” Herzog emphasized.

 Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett poses for a picture at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, January 26, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90) Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett poses for a picture at the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem, January 26, 2022. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also warned against Israelis visiting Turkey, especially Istanbul, due to the threat of Iranian attacks.

“Israel’s security branches are acting to thwart terrorist attempts before they are put into action,” he said at the start of Sunday’s cabinet meeting. “We will continue to strike those who send terrorists… Our new rule is: Whoever sends [terrorists] will pay.”

Nevertheless, Israelis should take personal responsibility for their own security and not fly to Turkey, unless it is necessary, because it is still dangerous, Bennett said.

Herzog and Erdogan have spoken on the phone several times since Herzog became president more than a year ago, facilitating a rapprochement between Israel and Turkey. Herzog visited Ankara earlier this year.