In a significant diplomatic development, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is set to host Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, in Ankara next week. This visit marks the first by an Israeli premier to the Turkish capital in 15 years.
Mr Netanyahu’s journey to Ankara, scheduled for July 28, anticipates high-level discussions with President Erdogan on a broad spectrum of regional and international issues.
Adding to the diplomatic momentum, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will also be in Ankara a few days prior to Mr Netanyahu’s arrival.
The Turkish presidency confirmed, “President Erdogan will extend a warm welcome to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the same week.”
The dialogue will primarily focus on “the evolution of Turkey-Palestine relations, the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as other pertinent international issues,” according to the presidency’s statement.
Mr Netanyahu’s office confirmed this historic visit, the first for an Israeli Prime Minister since Ehud Olmert‘s trip to Turkey in 2008.
This diplomatic initiative by Turkey comes amid an impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, compounded by the worst outbreak of violence in recent years in the occupied West Bank.
In April, the Al Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, a highly sensitive religious site, became the epicentre of clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians. President Erdogan responded by stating that Israel had overstepped a “red line”.
Furthermore, Israeli President Isaac Herzog held talks with Mr Erdogan in Turkey, and a few months later, former prime minister Yair Lapid also met with the Turkish leader in New York. These interactions set the stage for what is hoped to be a further easing of tensions and progress in diplomatic relations.
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