Turkey ready for energy cooperation with Israel President Erdogan

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Ankara, March 10

Turkey is ready to cooperate with Israel in the field of energy, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday after a meeting with visiting Israeli President Isaac Herzog that aimed at normalizing bilateral ties.

"I told Mr. Herzog that we are ready for cooperation in energy and energy security. Turkey has the experience to implement such projects," Erdogan said at a joint press conference with Herzog in the capital Ankara, Xinhua news agency.

"I believe that this historic visit will be a turning point in relations between Turkey and Israel," the Turkish president said, adding new opportunities will be brought for both regional and bilateral cooperation.

The Turkish ministers of foreign affairs and energy will pay visits to Israel in the upcoming period, according to Erdogan.

"Our common goal with Israel is to revitalize political dialogue between our countries, based on common interests and respect for mutual sensitivities," he said, adding Ankara has "clearly expressed" its sensitivity on the issue of Palestine.

Herzog is the first Israeli leader to visit Turkey since 2008, as the two countries' relations began to sour in 2010 when a Turkish-led flotilla attempting to break Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip clashed with Israeli forces, killing 10 Turks on board.

In a more recent spat in 2018 when the United States moved its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador from Ankara.

In recent months, the presidents of the two countries held several phone conversations in a bid to mend ties.

For his part, Herzog said "partnership and good neighbourly relations" between Israel and Turkey are "important to us all" in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

"We shall aspire to solve our disagreements with mutual respect and goodwill, by means of the proper mechanisms and institutions which we shall develop together," the Israeli president added.

A vocal critic of Israel, especially of its policies toward the Palestinians, Erdogan voiced in January Turkey's interest in resuming talks with Israel over transporting Israel's natural gas to Europe through Turkish territory.

In 2016, Turkey and Israel held a series of talks over the transportation of Israeli gas through Turkey as part of reconciliation efforts, but the discussions were fruitless.


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