Herzog Reassures Greece After Erdogan Call

YERUSHALAYIM -
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses the media during his official visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, a breakaway state recognised only by Turkey, Tuesday.
(Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS)

Israeli President Isaac Herzog has reassured Greece that his friendly conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week would not affect relations with Athens, according to Axios on Wednesday.

In a gesture at mending relations with Israel, the Turkish leader called the newly installed Herzog, the first time he had spoken directly with an Israeli official since 2017. The two reportedly talked about possible energy cooperation, among other matters.

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou asked Herzog about the call with Erdoğan last week and he told her that any improvement in relations with Turkey would not come at the expense of Greece, Israeli officials were quoted as saying.

While Israel and Turkey haven’t been on speaking terms—except to trade accusations of terrorism and antisemitism—Israel created an alliance with Greece and Cyprus focused on political, security and energy cooperation.

Meanwhile, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias arrived in Israel for a meeting with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who also reportedly downplayed the call with Erdoğan.

On Tuesday, Israel expressed concern over Turkey’s unilateral takeover of parts of the ghost city of Varosha in the demilitarized zone between Turkish-aligned Northern Cyprus and the rest of the island.

Lapid called his Cypriot counterpart to express support. The Biden administration also condemned the “provocative” move and said it would refer it to the U.N. Security Council, Axios said.