Turkiye’s Erdogan States His Only Condition to Visit Israel

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: via Twitter)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Despite years of outward solidarity with the Palestinian people, Turkiye seems eager to invest in strong relations with Israel.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday – that his country will begin energy exploration with Israel, Aljazeera Net reported.

The announcement was made during a press conference that followed the Turkish leader’s visit to New York to participate in the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

“We will begin energy exploration with Israel, and we will begin operating energy transmission lines not only to Turkiye, but also to Europe,” Erdogan said.

“We explained the benefits of establishing a mechanism in which the ministers of the two countries participate in order to increase cooperation in various fields,” he added.

Erdogan went on to talk about mutual visits between the two countries, saying that he will visit Israel after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits Turkiye. 

“Do this visit first, and then I will visit Israel with my team,” Erdogan said. 

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Increasing Trade

According to Erdogan, the total volume of trade exchange between the two sides amounts to $9.5 billion. 

The Turkish president said that he reached an agreement with Netanyahu to increase it to at least $15 billion in the first phase.

“We had the opportunity to discuss and talk about what we can do together in international politics,” Erdogan added, noting that it is possible for the two countries to work together to establish new cooperation in several fields.

Erdogan went as far as suggesting that he discussed with Netanyahu the formation of a mechanism between the two countries to increase cooperation in the fields of energy, tourism, and technology.

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Turkish-Israeli Relations

Relations between Israel and Turkiye deteriorated after Israeli forces killed ten Turkish citizens in a 2010 raid on a ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists in an attempt to break the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip.

Ankara expelled the Israeli ambassador in a move it reversed in 2016. But the same scenario was repeated again two years later due to the killing of hundreds of Palestinians who were taking part in protests at the fence separating besieged Gaza from Israel.

Israel also expelled the Turkish ambassador in 2018, accusing Ankara of hosting leaders of the Hamas movement.

In March 2022, relations were restored following the visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Turkey.

Last July, Netanyahu’s visit to Ankara was postponed due to health problems.

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