Israeli president to pay historic visit to Turkey next week

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JERUSALEM – Israeli President Isaac Herzog will travel to Turkey next week for a state visit, the office of the presidency announced Saturday.

At the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Herzog will be in Ankara and Istanbul for two days. It would be the first Israeli president to visit Turkey since 2003.

Erdogan is a vocal critic of Israel. The two countries’ relations began to sour in 2010 when a Turkish-led flotilla attempting to break Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip clashed with Israeli forces, killing 10 Turks on board.

When Herzog entered office in July 2021, Erdogan phoned to congratulate him. The conversation “led to a resumption of dialogue between Israel and Turkey after a disconnect lasting several years,” read the Israeli presidency statement.

According to the statement, the two leaders will “discuss various bilateral issues … and the potential for expanding cooperation” during the planned visit.

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