In the latest step of warmed tied between Turkey and Israel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a group of Jewish leaders on Monday in New York he plans on visiting Israel, JTA reported on Monday evening.
Erdogan, who is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, met with American and Turkish Jewish leaders in a meeting arranged by the Turkish embassy and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.
The Turkish leader, who did not specify when he would visit the Jewish state, also said at the meeting that that antisemitism is a “crime against humanity.”
Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who flew to New York on Monday evening, is scheduled to meet with Erdogan on the sidelines of the General Assembly – the first meeting of the leaders of the two countries since 2008. On Monday, Israel announced the appointment of a new ambassador to Turkey, the first since 2018.
Erdogan has a history of making virulent statements against Israel, including calling Israel a “terrorist state” and Israelis “child killing bloodsuckers” as well as providing a safe haven for Hamas members, including those actively involved in financing and planning terror operations against Israel. He even granted citizenship to 12 Hamas terrorists, one of whom has been designated by the US as a terrorist and has a $5 million bounty on his head.
In recent months, Erdogan made a decision to repair ties with a number of countries, including Israel, and under pressure from Jerusalem, took steps to expel members of Hamas’s military wing from the country. President Isaac Herzog visited Turkey in March and last month, the two countries announced they plan on restoring full diplomatic ties.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)