Israeli president receives Turkish envoy, invites Erdoğan to visit

Israeli President Isaac Herzog received Ankara's new ambassador Şakir Özkan Torunlar and invited his Turkish counterpart Erdoğan to visit the country.

This file photo shows Turkish ambassador Şakir Özkan Torunlar and Israeli President Isaac Herzog (Reuters)


Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Jan. 11 invited his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to visit the country as he received Ankara's new ambassador Şakir Özkan Torunlar in another token of the countries' recently warming ties.

Last year, Herzog, whose role is largely ceremonial, was the first Israeli leader to visit Turkey since 2008, after the two countries began restoring relations and ending a more than a decade-old diplomatic rift.

They agreed to mutually appoint ambassadors in August and, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won an election in November, he and Erdoğan agreed to keep improving ties.

"I am sure we will all work to strengthen the countries' relations," Herzog said.

Netanyahu's return to power at the head of a nationalist-religious government in December has rattled Palestinians and Western and Arab allies who fear it could heighten tensions in the Middle East.

Turkey last week joined a chorus of condemnation of a visit by Israel's new far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to the sensitive Al Aqsa mosque complex in Jerusalem, Islam's third holiest site and Judaism's most sacred.