Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was in Turkey Monday for economic talks, making him the highest-ranking minister to travel to Ankara since diplomatic ties took a nosedive last month, following Turkey's cancellation of a military maneuver with Israel. At the start of an Istanbul business seminar Monday morning, Ben-Eliezer said the large Israeli delegation had demonstrated that ties between Jerusalem and Ankara were as strong as ever and would remain strong in the future. Investments, cooperation in research and development, joint initiatives and economic integration were the best way of further bolstering ties between Israel and Turkey, he said. Turkey and Israel were natural partners, Ben-Eliezer said, citing geographical proximity, similar business orientation and relatively young populations. Israeli companies had invested nearly $500 million in Turkey in the banking, production and services sectors in the last five years, while Turkish companies invested heavily in the Israeli food industry and infrastructure, he said. It was no coincidence that the first-ever private power station was being built in a joint Israeli-Turkish venture, he added. Ben-Eliezer is heading a delegation of 20 senior Israeli businessmen, who will meet with counterparts in both Istanbul and Ankara.