Israel's President Herzog to visit Turkey next month, President Erdogan announces

Israel's President Herzog to visit Turkey next month, President Erdogan announces
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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was 'ready to take steps in Israel's direction in all areas, including natural gas'.
Erdogan has held phone talks with Herzog and other Israeli leaders in recent months [Justin Tallis-WPA Pool/Getty-archive]

Israeli President Isaac Herzog will pay an official visit to Turkey in February, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday, hailing it as a chance to mend frayed relations with Tel Aviv.

"This visit could open a new chapter in relations between Turkey and Israel," Erdogan said in an interview with Turkey's NTV channel, adding that he was "ready to take steps in Israel's direction in all areas, including natural gas".

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

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In recent months, however, the two countries have been working on a rapprochement, with Erdogan, a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, holding telephone talks with Herzog and other Israeli leaders.

The Turkish president had already said last week he was prepared to work with Israel on reviving an old project to ship Mediterranean gas to European clients via Turkey.

His remarks came after the United States reportedly dropped support for a rival pipeline project involving Israel and Turkey's historic rival Greece.

Turkey had strongly opposed the project, which was supported by the former administration of then-US President Donald Trump.