Israel President Isaac Herzog on Historic Visit to Turkey

First visit to Turkey by Israeli head of state in 14 years is expected to finally thaw chilly relations

By Israel Today Staff | | Topics: Turkey
Photo: Haim Zach/GPO

Israel President Isaac Herzog arrived in Turkey yesterday together with his wife Michal. There he was greeted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at an impressive reception ceremony. The Israeli leader’s first visit to Turkey is set to open a new chapter in relations between the two countries.

The historic visit to Turkey comes at a time when Turkey is facing economic collapse and is now seeking to normalize relations with several Middle Eastern countries in an attempt to end its international isolation.

Before Herzog continued his journey to Istanbul, he met with Erdogan for talks in Ankara. Regional issues and the possibilities for future regional and bilateral cooperation were addressed.

In a joint press statement, Erdogan said he was honored to receive the Israeli President at his palace.

“I believe this visit will be a turning point in Israel-Turkey relations.” Erdogan added that “strengthening ties with Israel is of great value to our country.”

Herzog said he was hopeful and regretted that relations between the two countries had experienced a drought in recent years.

Photo: Haim Zach/GPO

Said the Israeli President:

“I now believe that relations between our countries will be measured by actions that reflect a spirit of mutual respect and will enable us to better address the regional and global challenges that affect us all.

“Israel and Turkey, as you said, can and should work together on many issues that are having a dramatic impact on this region we all call ‘home.’

“We have to agree in advance that we will not agree on everything. That’s the nature of a relationship with a rich past like ours. But we will strive to resolve our differences with mutual respect and goodwill, through the appropriate mechanisms and institutions that we will develop together, and with a view to a common future.

“You and I, your people and mine, we are all children of Abraham, the father of believers in God.”

Before his return flight to Israel, Herzog attended a service at the Neve Shalom Synagogue in Istanbul.

Before leaving, Herzog said:

“We will not agree on everything, and relations between Israel and Turkey have certainly experienced ups and downs and not so easy moments in recent years. But we will try to restart our relationship and build it with moderation and caution and with mutual respect between our states.”

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