Israeli President Herzog's official trip to Ankara next month could open a new chapter in bilateral relations of both countries, says Turkiye's President Erdogan.

Erdogan said Turkiye has always supported inclusive cooperation and fair-share policy in the Eastern Mediterranean, a move against Greece's maximalist approach.
Erdogan said Turkiye has always supported inclusive cooperation and fair-share policy in the Eastern Mediterranean, a move against Greece's maximalist approach. (AA)

Israeli President Isaac Herzog will pay an official visit to Turkiye in February, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, hoping it begins "a new era" in ties between both countries. 

"[Israel's] Mr. President Herzog will visit [Turkiye] in the first half of February," Erdogan said in an interview with local broadcaster NTV on Wednesday.

"The visit could pave the way for a new era in Israel-Turkey relations," Erdogan said, adding Ankara is ready to work with Tel Aviv in all fields, including natural gas.

"We see that Israel has taken some steps in this regard. We are ready to take all kinds of steps in this field with Israel," Erdogan said. 

Ties between Ankara and Tel Aviv nosedived during ex-Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu's rule who Erdogan called "unfriendly" towards Turkiye.

Herzog's visit to Ankara is seen as a major step towards repairing fragile relations between both sides.

Israeli President Herzog and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held talks over the phone with Erdogan when Bennett took over from Netanyahu who failed to form a coalition government and is facing an array of corruption charges.

Last week, Turkiye's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid to extend his best wishes after the Jewish minister contracted Covid-19.

It was for the first time in 13 years that top Turkish and Israeli diplomats spoke over the phone.

READ MORE: Can Turkiye offer an alternative to the EastMed pipeline?

Gas from Israel to Europe

Last week, Erdogan said he is prepared to work with Israel on transporting Mediterranean gas to European clients via Turkiye.

His remarks came after the United States withdrew its support to the EastMed pipeline project that aims to take Israel's gas to Europe via Greece, for economic and environmental reasons.

Turkey is strongly opposed the project which was supported by former US president Donald Trump.

"US made its calculations and dropped the support from the project. It’s impossible for any regional project to succeed if it excludes Turkiye in the Eastern Mediterranean," Erdogan said.

Erdogan said Turkiye has always supported inclusive cooperation and fair-share policy in the Eastern Mediterranean, a move against Greece's maximalist approach.

He said Turkiye had offered to hold an Eastern Mediterranean Conference in 2020 but the regional countries ignored the offer.

READ MORE: US ‘skeptical’ over EastMed Israel-Greece gas pipeline

Source: TRTWorld and agencies