Abbas, Netanyahu to visit Turkey just days apart

Leaders to separately discuss ‘Turkey-Palestine relations’ and ‘latest developments in Israeli-Palestinian conflict’ with Erdogan.

Israeli PM Netanyahu shakes hands with Palestinian President Abbas during funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem
The upcoming visits, organised by Turkey, come amid heightened tensions with some of the worst violence [Handout: Amos Ben Gershom/Government Press Office via Reuters]

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Turkey later this month to hold talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Netanyahu will be received on July 28, a few days after Abbas, who is expected to visit on July 25, the Turkish presidency said.

“President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will welcome the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Turkey in the course of the same week,” the presidency said in a statement.

The leaders will discuss “Turkey-Palestine relations and the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as other topical international issues”, it added.

Netanyahu’s visit will be the first by an Israeli prime minister since Ehud Olmert in 2008.

Relations between Turkey and Israel have improved over the past year, with several high-level visits, including that of Israeli President Isaac Herzog after more than a decade of tensions.

In 2010, relations were strained after the deadly storming of a Turkish ship by Israeli commandos that saw relations downgraded for more than half a decade.

Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel in May 2018, and expelled Israel’s ambassador to Turkey after about 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza during a rally against Israel’s illegal blockade of the coastal enclave.

Erdogan accused Israel of “state terror” and “genocide” over the killings, calling it an apartheid state.

Israel retaliated by dismissing the Turkish consul general in Jerusalem.

The upcoming visits, organised by Turkey, come amid heightened tensions with some of the worst violence, including the first Israeli drone assault in the area since 2006, increasing military raids on Jenin and northern occupied Palestinian territories and settler attacks in Palestinian villages.

Earlier this month, Israel targeted the Jenin refugee camp, killing 12 Palestinians, including three children.

At least 3,000 people fled their homes while dozens of houses were shelled, and widespread destruction was caused to roads and other infrastructure.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies