Erdogan eyeing major energy deal with Israel

Turkey and Israel aim to fix their long-strained ties, and energy has emerged as a potential area of cooperation.

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog that synergy in the field of energy was mutually beneficial for their countries and that he hoped the momentum built in recent talks would continue, his office said on Friday.

Turkey and Israel have in recent weeks been working to mend their long-strained ties, and energy has emerged as a potential area of cooperation.

Herzog visited Turkey last month for talks with Erdogan, and the Turkish leader has said he will send his foreign and energy ministers to Israel for talks.

Read more: Palestine future in risk as Turkey comes closer to Israel

In a statement, the Turkish presidency said that Erdogan, in a phone call with Herzog, also stressed the importance of allowing Palestinians to enter Israel during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, adding that he welcomed recent Israeli and Palestinian statements calling for easing tensions.

“Erdogan… repeated that he expected the sensitivity shown by Israeli authorities in keeping Al-Aqsa mosque open 24 hours in the last 10 days of Ramadan and closing it to visits by non-Muslims to continue,” his office said, adding he also condemned recent terror attacks in Israel.

Regional rivals Turkey and Israel expelled ambassadors in 2018 and have often traded barbs over the Palestinian conflict, Turkish support of the Hamas militant group, which runs Gaza, and other issues.

Turkey, which supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has said it believes a rapprochement with Israel will also help find a solution to the issue, but that it would not abandon commitments to Palestinians for better ties with Israel.

Read more: Israel & Turkey looking to renew friendship

On Thursday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he will visit Israel and Palestine with Energy Minister Fatih Donmez in mid-May and discuss the appointment of ambassadors with his Israeli counterpart during the visit.

Reuters with additional input by GVS News Desk