Israeli PM meets Turkish President, for first time in 14 years

Israeli PM meets Turkish President, for first time in 14 years

Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid has met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for the first time in 14 years, the latest sign of friendly relations between the two regional powers after long and bitter relations.

Both leaders met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the biggest annual gathering of world leaders, which is now underway in New York. In his meeting with Erdogan, Mr. Lapid said he praised the recent fixing of diplomatic ties between the countries and the appointment of a new Israeli ambassador to Turkey, this week.

Erdogan has expressed his keenness for warmer ties since Benjamin Netanyahu left office last year. After years of problematic relations, Mr. Erdogan has been a candid critic of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. Israel, in turn, has opposed Turkey’s acceptance of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. But following Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s state visit to Turkey in March both, countries agreed to exchange ambassadors.

During their meeting in New York, Lapid thanked Erodgan for intelligence cooperation against attempts by Iran to execute attacks in Turkey and highlighted the issue of missing and captive Israelis, his office said. The leaders also discussed energy cooperation, the statement added. Erdogan has shown an interest in Turkey tapping into Israel’s resources of offshore natural gas fields in the Mediterranean.