Turkey Invites Israeli Energy Minister to Conference

YERUSHALAYIM -
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, left, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, during a joint media statement following their meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday, April 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Turkey has invited Israel’s energy minister for a conference scheduled for June, which would be the highest-level visit of an Israeli official in many years.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu issued the invitation to Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, according to a Kan news report on Thursday later confirmed by his office.

This would be the latest gesture from Ankara that it seeks improved relations with Israel, which have been severely strained since the Mavi Marara incident in 2010.

Steinitz would be the first Israeli official of any rank to go to Turkey since the latter recalled its ambassador to Israel in 2018.

It was probable that Steinitz was chosen over other ministers because of the ongoing conflict of Turkey versus Israel, Greece and Cyprus, over the construction of a natural gas pipeline from Israel to Europe.

Senior government officials, academics, media figures, entrepreneurs and intellectuals are expected to attend the two-day conference.

Çavuşoğlu said Turkey’s government would reevaluate its relations with Israel if a new Israeli government changes its policies, the state-run Andalou Agency reported on Tuesday.

However, he denied reports that he has chosen a new envoy to Israel: “”If we were to appoint an ambassador to Israel, we would say that openly. We have made no such decision.”