Defense minister travels to Ankara to meet with Turkish leader and Turkish counterpart with Iran on top of mind; ‘This relationship strengthens Israel’s standing in the region’

Defense Minister Benny Gantz is set for an announced meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara Thursday afternoon.

Earlier this year, the Turkish leader met with President Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

רג'פ טאיפ ארדואן, בני גנץ
Benny Gantz and Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: Yair Sagi, AP)


Gantz and Erdogan will meet at the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey, where Defense Minister Hulusi Akar will join them as well.

“This is the first meeting of the Defense Minister with his counterpart and state officials in Turkey in over more than a decade,” the Defense Ministry stated. “In the framework of these meetings,
Gantz will renew official security ties between the countries.”

Gantz arrived in Ankara last night for an official visit ahead of the announcement of the resumption of security ties with the country, after Israeli security officials have spent the last several months carefully working toward renewing diplomatic ties.

בני גנץ
Benny Gantz lands in Turkey (Photo: Elad Malka)


A senior security official said that “Erdogan has proven that he knows how to act against terror. The security relations with Turkey are part of the regional architecture, and Israel can help Ankara make its case to the U.S.”

According to the official, covert communications between the countries continued even after their political fallout, especially intelligence sharing to unwind Iranian plots to harm Israelis on Turkish soil.

“This relationship really strengthens Israel’s standing in the region, the cooperation and coordination in the political, security-military and perhaps industrial channels in the future, with some of the countries. The maritime deal with the Lebanese is another significant dimension that strengthens ties.”

Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, who has previously criticized Erdogan, said Thursday morning that Gantz did not notify him about the meeting.

אביגדור ליברמן ישיבת ממשלה
Avigdor Liberman (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)


“Erdogan probably understood that he made severe mistakes, he made a U-turn from his past and all his troubles and remarks. It’s good that he realized it,” Liberman added. “We are not looking for true friendship here, there is an interest and he probably realized that his interests are elsewhere and not where he was looking up until now.”

Gantz’s visit marks the first by an Israeli defense minister since that Ehud Barak in 2012.

According to a senior security official, Turkey is coming forth with a positive stance on Israeli demands to Hamas.

As reported by Ynetnews