Israel’s Lapid, Erdoğan to meet on sidelines of U.N. assembly

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on the sidelines of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly, the Times of Israel reported on Saturday, citing a schedule published by Lapid’s office.

The planned meeting in New York arrives as the two countries seek to improve ties following a decade of tensions.

Turkey and Israel over the past year have been taking tentative steps to mend relations. Bilateral ties between the countries ell into crisis in 2010 after Israeli soldiers raided a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla, killing ten pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara. Turkey’s close ties with the militant Islamist group Hamas, designated as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the United States and the European Union, has been a key stumbling block to restoring diplomatic ties.

In March, Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with Erdoğan in Ankara, marking the first visit by an Israeli head of state since 2007. 

Last month, the two countries announced that they would restore full diplomatic ties with each other and re-appoint their ambassadors in Ankara and Tel Aviv. Israel and Turkey expelled their respective ambassadors from each other’s countries in 2018.

Lapid in June visited Turkey, meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavuşoğlu. The visit was marked by what Lapid said was foiled Iranian efforts to carry out attacks against Israeli tourists in Istanbul and political tensions at home.

Lapid will speak at the U.N. assembly on Thursday, according to his office, and is expected to meet separately with Erdogan, in addition to British Prime Minister Liz Truss, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, his office said.

Erdoğan is scheduled to address the General Assembly on Tuesday, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Saturday.

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