Israeli president's stance ease reconciliation between Turkiye, Israel

Isaac Herzog's historic visit to Turkiye is considered by many experts as turning point for Ankara-Tel Aviv relations.

Israeli president's stance ease reconciliation between Turkiye, Israel

Israel's 11th President Isaac Herzog stands out as a politician who comprehends regional dynamics and the importance of Turkiye well, unlike his predecessors.

Many experts consider the Israeli president's two-day historic visit to Turkiye as a turning point for the Ankara-Tel Aviv relations, which has been fluctuated for nearly a decade.

As the decades of ties were firstly established in 1949, a year later the establishment of the State of Israel, Turkiye became the first Muslim majority country to recognize Israel as a sovereign country.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog's moves for reconciliation seems to become a beacon of hope for regional stability and more steady ties for Turkiye and Israel.

Both leaders are expected to discuss crucial issues ranging from bilateral ties to energy cooperation, which may be a solution to Europe's energy crisis.

Erdogan Herzog have chance to play central role in regional stability

Unlike the other populist Israeli leaders such as Benjamin Netanyahu, Isaac Herzog's stance give an opportunity to restore long-deteriorated relations of Turkiye and Israel.

An experienced Israeli politician Isaac Herzog, just like his father, Chaim Herzog, had the honor to take oath as Israel's president on July 7, 2021.
Having served in different ministerial portfolios, Herzog became the opposition leader in 2013, with his being elected as the chairman of the Israeli Labor Party.

Following his election as the opposition leader, Herzog had met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to pledge his support for the two-state solution.

Considering Turkiye's stance on the Palestinian issue, which will surely be on the agenda of both leaders, Herzog's distinctive pose from other Israeli politicians stands out.

Although Turkiye and Israel differ in some issues, including Palestine, many agree that restoring ties would bring mutual benefits for both countries and stability to the region.

Interestingly, the bilateral ties between Turkiye and Israel reached their peak during the current president's father Chaim Herzog's term in the 90s as Israel continued Madrid and Oslo Processes to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace through negotiations involving some Arab states.

Thirty years after Chaim Herzog's visit to Ankara in 1992, the late president's son Isaac Herzog got the opportunity to play a central role for reconciliation and regional stability along with Turkiye's Erdogan.

Cooperation in energy might take relation to next level

As the US administration withdrew support from the EastMed gas pipeline project that was signed by Israel, Greece, and the Greek Cypriot Administration on Jan. 2, 2020, for the transport of Israeli natural gas to the European market via the Mediterranean Sea and Greece, Ankara reiterated over and over its readiness on cooperation to carry Israeli gas to Europe via Turkiye.

Last month, President Erdogan emphasized on his way back from Ukraine visit that "we can use Israeli natural gas in our country, and beyond using it, we can also engage in a joint effort on its passage to Europe." He added that these issues will be on their agenda with Herzog during his visit.

The cooperation based on the win-win situation in the field of energy might take the relationship to the next level in the long run.

Another indicator for the restored ties between Turkiye and Israel will be the appointment of ambassadors, which is most likely to be announced after the meeting of both leaders in Ankara.

In 2018, Turkiye had recalled its ambassador in Tel Aviv over the deadly attacks against Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip, who were protesting the US administration's decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

President Herzog's tour, the most senior Israeli visit since 2008, seems to aim to move on from years of tension between Israel and Turkiye.

Hüseyin Demir

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