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Netanyahu to visit Turkey days after Palestinian leader

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Turkey on July 28 to hold talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, both leaders’ offices said late Thursday, Agence France-Presse reported.

Netanyahu will be received a few days after Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is expected on July 25, the Turkish presidency said.

“President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will welcome the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Turkey in the course of the same week,” the presidency said in a statement.

The leaders will discuss “Turkey-Palestine relations and the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as other topical international issues,” it added.

Netanyahu’s office confirmed the visit, the first by an Israeli prime minister since Ehud Olmert in 2008.

Turkey’s diplomatic drive comes at a time when the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is at a standstill, against a backdrop of the worst violence in years in the occupied West Bank.

In April, clashes erupted inside Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque, where Israeli police fought with Palestinians inside the holy site.

Erdoğan said Israel had crossed a “red line.”

But after several years of tension between the two countries, relations between Turkey and Israel have improved over the past year, with several high-level visits, including that of Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

Relations were strained in 2010 after Israeli forces launched a deadly assault on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, which was attempting to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory under Israeli blockade and controlled by the Islamist group Hamas.

In May 2018, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Tel Aviv and expelled Israel’s ambassador to Ankara after about 50 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army in Gaza.

Israel retaliated by dismissing the Turkish consul general in Jerusalem.




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