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Wednesday July 17, 2024

Erdogan meets Netanyahu as ties thaw

By AFP
September 21, 2023

UNITED NATIONS, United States: Turkiye´s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in New York on Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said “ties between the two countries were improving”.

After more than a decade of tensions, relations have improved with recent high-level visits, including that of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Ankara last year.

In Wednesday´s meeting at Turkish House on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly, “the two leaders decided to continue advancing bilateral relations in trade, economic matters and energy,” Netanyahu´s office said, and extended reciprocal invitations for visits “soon.”

They also discussed “regional and international issues, including normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia,” the statement said. Though Saudi Arabia was not one of the Gulf and Arab countries to normalize ties with Israel as part of the 2020 US-brokered Abraham Accords, speculation has grown of an impending deal.

Riyadh has repeatedly said it would stick to the decades-old Arab League position of not establishing official ties with Israel until conflict with the Palestinians is resolved. Erdogan and Netanyahu also discussed “the latest developments regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” according to a statement from the Turkish presidency.

Erdogan is a fervent supporter of the Palestinian cause and a fierce critic of Israel -- but he has also altered regional strategy by initiating an outreach to Israel after years of tensions.