Turkey woos Israeli media with five-star hotel, top restaurants

Turkey is wooing the Israeli media by inviting seven journalists for a series of meetings with officials, welcoming them in a five-star hotel and top restaurants amid tours of popular sites, the Times of Israel said on Thursday.

This week’s invite was hosted by Turkish Presidential Communications Director and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s top aide, Fahrettin Altun, the newspaper said, in a move by Ankara to press ahead in its attempts to charm Israel, the newspaper said.

“Turkish officials seem eager to promote the idea that the country is a tolerant and safe home for diverse religions,” it said.

Turkey and Israel are taking tentative steps to mend relations, which have been fractured for more than a decade, over Turkey’s condemnation of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, Turkish support for Hamas and disputes over natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean. 

Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with Erdoğan in Ankara last month. It was the first visit by an Israeli head of state since 2007. The two leaders expressed their willingness to improve relations based on mutual respect.

The press tour initiative clearly came with Erdoğan’s full knowledge and blessing, according to the newspaper.

The journalists met with Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Wednesday, the newspaper said.

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