Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday that his counterpart – Israel’s President Isaac Herzog – is set to visit the country in early February.
This news follows weeks of phone calls between the president and a number of Israel’s officials, with Erdogan hinting previously that talks of a potential visit were underway.
“Israeli President Herzog is due in Turkey in early February,” Ankara’s leader revealed during an interview with Turkey’s NTV, adding that “His visit may open a new page in Turkish-Israeli relations.”
Erdogan also expressed a favorable opinion towards another one of Israel’s senior officials – he said Prime Minister Naftali Bennett “has a positive approach” to Ankara, the Daily Sabah reported.
The president said that Ankara is prepared to “take steps in Israel’s direction in all areas,” while noting that a few instances of cooperation between the two nations already occurred.
“We previously had some progress in transport of Israeli gas to Europe through Turkey,” the leader added.
“We, politicians, exist to maintain peace, not war,” he stressed.
While Erdogan in recent months signaled greater openness to establishing diplomatic relations, analysts caution the leader can be inconsistent at times, and warn against compromising Israel’s ties to Greece and Cyprus in the process of normalization with Ankara.