The Prime Minister’s Office in Israel announced on Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit Turkey on July 28.
In what is expected to be the first-ever meeting between the two leaders, Netanyahu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoan intend to discuss bilateral relationships and efforts to enhance relations, according to a statement from Erdoan’s office.
Ehud Olmert was the last Israeli prime minister to travel to Turkey in 2008.
Netanyahu had been invited by King Mohammed VI of Morocco to make his maiden trip to the North African nation just 24 hours prior to the announcement.
Netanyahu’s scheduled travel to Turkey coincides with his official visit to Cyprus in the same week. On July 25, the prime minister is scheduled to take a plane to the island in the Mediterranean and return the following day.
The restoration of full diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and Ankara was announced last summer, with Yair Lapid, the Israeli prime minister at the time, stating that the move would “contribute to deepening ties between the two peoples, expanding economic, trade, and cultural ties, and strengthening regional stability.”
Despite this, there are still many important issues between the two nations.
In particular, Hamas exploits Turkish territory as the location of its operational headquarters, from which it organizes and finances attacks in Judea and Samaria. Even though Erdoan recently evicted a few Hamas members from Turkish territory, the country’s foreign minister reiterated late last year that Turkey “does not see Hamas as a terrorist organization.”
Turkish counterintelligence said earlier this month that seven accused Mossad agents had been jailed on espionage suspicions. The suspects, who had passports from a number of Middle Eastern nations, apparently belonged to a team of 56 people that was part of a wider network.
Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority, is scheduled to arrive in Ankara on July 25 and is anticipated to stay in Turkey.
According to Erdoan’s announcement, he would speak with Abbas about “the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Turkey-Palestine relations, as well as other pressing regional and global issues.”