Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was to meet Israeli counterpart and visit Palestinian territories, as well as Al-Aqsa Mosque; visit to focus on reinstatement of ambassadors after the two countries expelled each other’s envoys in 2018

Turkey’s foreign minister landed in Israel on Tuesday for the first such visit by a senior Turkish official in more than a decade.

Upon his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, Mevlut Cavusoglu departed for a two-day trip to the Palestinian territories, where he met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki.

מבלוט צ'בושולו שר החוץ של טורקיה ב נתב"ג
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) with a Foreign Ministry dignitary at Ben Gurion airport (Photo: GPO)


On Wednesday, Cavusoglu is expected to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust History Museum in Jerusalem, as well as meet with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Tourism Minister Yoel Razvozov. Later that day he is set to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque before proceeding to Tel Aviv.

The main topic on the agenda during the visit appears to be the reinstatement of ambassadors, after the two countries expelled each other’s envoys back in 2018 due to increasingly strained relations.

According to Turkish media, Jerusalem has provided Ankara with a list of Hamas members Israel wishes to be expelled from Turkey as conditions for normalizations of ties.

ריאד אל מאלכי שר החוץ של הרשות הפלסטינית עם מבלוט צ'בושולו שר החוץ של טורקיה ב רמאללה
Cavusoglu meets with Palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki in Ramallah


To that end, the visit will most probably be used by the Turks to update Lapid on the steps taken so far to stem Hamas’ presence in the country.

According to knowledgeable sources, the ambassadors will be returned only after the Mossad and the Shin Bet confirm that Turkey has met Israel’s demands regarding Hamas’ presence in the republic.

The sources added that it is not clear if the ambassadors’ return will be approved during Cavusoglu visit, which comes amid recent efforts by Ankara and Jerusalem to repair their long-strained ties.

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.

נשיא המדינה יצחק הרצוג עם נשיא טורקיה רג'פ טאיפ ארדואן
President Issac Herzog with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara, April 2022 (Photo: AFP)


The visit came a month after historic meeting between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog in Ankara in early April, the first such trip by an Israeli leader in 14 years.

Herzog’s visit to Ankara was followed by an essay written by Turkey’s Ambassador to Washington Hasan Murat Mercan for Tel Aviv University’s Dayan Center for Strategic Studies – in which the senior diplomat called to transform Turkish-Israeli relations, and explained why in his view the two countries should cooperate in many fields.

As reported by Ynetnews