Turkish delegation heads to Israel ahead of Herzog, Erdogan meeting
The Turkish delegation will be led by Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal and Senior Adviser and Spokesman to Erdogan Ibrahim Kalin.
On Tuesday morning Israel confirmed that Herzog’s trip to Turkey will go ahead, while Turkish media announced that the visit will take place between 9-10 March.
The Turkish delegation will hold talks with Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz, President’s Residence Deputy-General Eyal Shviki and other senior officials, the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post reported.
The visit by Herzog to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been highly anticipated since it was first announced.
Relations between Turkey and Israel have been strained since 2008, when Israel launched a deadly attack on Gaza.
Tension between the two countries speak in May 2010, after nine activists, eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American with dual citizenship, were killed and many more wounded after Israeli forces attacked a Gaza flotilla carrying aid to the besieged enclave.
Turkey has recalled its envoy to Israel and expelled Israel's ambassador to Ankara on numerous occasions.
Herzog’s upcoming visit will be the first by an Israeli leader since 10 years.
The presidents of Turkey and Israel have spoken on the phone, however have avoided exchanging visits.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett welcomed news that Herzog would travel to Turkey, but remained cautious.
“Things are happening very slowly and gradually,” he said.
Bennett went on to praise the diplomatic expertise of the Israeli president, and his working relationship with the Israeli leader.
“We have total trust. I don’t know when there was last a relationship like this,” he added.
It has been speculated that Turkey is seeking to build diplomatic relations with Israel as a means to boost its failing economy and to win over the US, with whom relations have soured.