Israel and Turkey hold their first face-to-face discussions since 2008

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) receives Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid at the Turkevi Center in New York. (Mustafa kamaci/AA/Picture Alliance)

On Tuesday, the presidents of Israel and Turkey met face-to-face for the first time in almost a decade.

The bilateral discussion between Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took place on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City a month after the two nations declared the restoration of diplomatic relations after years of hostility.

According to a statement from the Israeli prime minister's office, Lapid emphasized Israel's desire for the release of four residents, including two militaries, who have been missing in the Gaza Strip since a 2014 war.

The office stated that Lapid "brought up the issue of missing and captive Israelis and the importance of bringing them home,"

Turkey, a member of NATO, has maintained tight ties with Hamas, the Islamist organization that effectively governs the Gaza Strip.

The majority of the West considers Hamas a terrorist organization. It is believed that this organization is holding two Israeli civilians.

Turkey-Israel relations

While Turkey was the first country with a majority Muslim population to recognize Israel in 1949, relations have deteriorated under Erdogan, who last met with an Israeli prime minister in 2008.

Ten civilians were killed after an Israeli raid on the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship in 2010, causing a deterioration in relations.

The ship was part of a flotilla that attempted to breach a blockade by delivering aid to the Gaza Strip.

In recent months, however, icy relations have thawed and energy has emerged as a crucial area of collaboration.

In addition, the two nations are likely to exchange new envoys shortly.

In his address to the United Nations General Assembly, Erdogan reaffirmed his support for the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

However, the Turkish President noted that his nation was "determined to continue to develop our relations with Israel for the sake of the future, peace and stability of not only the region, but also of Israel, the Palestinian people and ours."

Publish : 2022-09-21 16:02:00

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