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Turkey, Israel can work on gas amid push to mend ties: Erdoğan

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Natural gas cooperation is among the most important steps Turkey and Israel can take amid a bid to repair ties and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett could visit Turkey, President Tayyip Erdoğan said on Friday, Reuters reported.

Earlier in March, Erdoğan said he believed Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s visit to Turkey would be a turning point in long-strained relations between the regional powers and that Ankara was ready to cooperate in the energy sector.

“In this process, Israeli Prime Minister Bennett may come as well. With his arrival, too, there may be a chance to start a new era in Turkey-Israel ties,” Erdoğan told reporters on a return flight from a NATO summit in Brussels.

“One of the most important steps we can take together for bilateral ties, I believe, would be natural gas,” he added, and said details of the cooperation would be discussed later during a visit by his foreign and energy ministers to Israel.

Relations between majority-Muslim Turkey and Israel froze over after the deaths of 10 civilians in an Israeli raid on a Turkish flotilla carrying aid for the Gaza Strip in 2010.

A 2015 reconciliation pact formally restored ties, but neither country returned an ambassador to post, with Erdogan frequently criticizing Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

Recently, the two countries have proclaimed a new era in relations following more than a decade of diplomatic rupture.

Herzog had talks in Ankara on March 9 with Erdoğan in the first visit by an Israeli president since 2007.

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