On the sidelines of the 78th UN General Assembly, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met, yesterday Tuesday, for the first time and discussed the Middle East and the normalization of relations between the two countries.

The strain in Turkey’s relations with Israel dates back to 2010, when Ankara expelled the Israeli ambassador after a deadly attack by Israeli commandos on a Turkish ship carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. Diplomatic relations were restored in 2016, but two years later there was a fresh rift over Israeli military operations in Gaza that killed around 50 Palestinians.

After years of crisis, diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel have gradually warmed over the past year, with high-level visits, notably that of Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Ankara in March 2022.

Erdogan and Netanyahu discussed issues of political, economic and regional interest, according to the Turkish presidency’s briefing on the meeting between the two leaders. The Turkish president told the Israeli prime minister that the two countries can cooperate in the fields of energy, technology, innovation, artificial intelligence and cyber security.

At the meeting, the prospects for energy cooperation were discussed, mainly in areas such as research and the exploitation of natural gas fields, Turkish Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar, who participated in the meeting, emphasized for his part.

As of 2020, Turkey is seeking a radical overhaul of the regional status quo, attempting diplomatic overtures to Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.