Israel reassures Greece over Turkey relations

Israeli President Isaac Herzog has told his Greek counterpart that any rapprochement with Turkey will not come at the cost of relations with Greece, Axios reported on Wednesday.

Turkey and Israel took a significant step towards repairing their fractured relationship last week after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Herzog to congratulate the Israeli premier on his recent election.

The pair discussed energy, tourism, and regional security, emphasising the importance of dialogue in overcoming their differences.

The call marked the first top-level contact between the two countries since 2017, and comes as Turkey seeks to rebuild relations with Western partners throughout the region following the election of Joe Biden as president of the United States.     

Once close allies, ties between Turkey and Israel have reached successive lows over the last decade, with their leaders repeatedly clashing in public over the Israel-Palestine conflict.

In May 2018, Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador and recalled its own envoy back, in response to Israeli attacks on the Palestinian enclave of Gaza and the United States’ decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, downgrading their ties to the level of charges d'affaires.

Meanwhile, Israel has forged closer ties with Greece through a series of defence and energy agreements, including a planned natural gas pipeline through the eastern Mediterranean.

The pipeline is strongly opposed by Turkey as part of its historical dispute with Greece over maritime borders and the divided island of Cyprus.

However, speaking to Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou last week, Herzog emphasised that there would be no change in his country's relations with Greece following the Erdoğan call, Axios said, citing Israeli officials.

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