Istanbul residents protest against upcoming visit by Israeli president
The moves by Ankara to normalize ties with Israel have been widely rejected by Turkish citizens
By News Desk - February 01 2022

Protesters gather outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul on 31 January 2022 demanding the cancellation of an upcoming visit by Israeli President Isaac Herzog. (Photo credit: Milli Gazete)

On 31 January dozens of protesters gathered outside the Israeli consulate in Istanbul demanding that the government of Turkey rescind its decision to invite Israeli President Isaac Herzog for an official visit.

The protesters carried banners denouncing the decision by the government to host ”murderers” and ”baby killers.” They said inviting Herzog to Turkey is a betrayal of the Palestinian people who, on a daily basis, are subjected to the brutality of the Israeli occupation.

On 26 January, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Herzog would visit the country in February.

Erdogan said he believed the visit ”could open a new chapter in the relations between Turkey and Israel.” He added that he is “ready to take steps in Israel’s direction in all areas.”

Herzog would be the most senior Israeli official to visit Turkey since 2007 when then-Israeli president Shimon Peres paid an official visit to Ankara at the invitation of then-president Abdullah Gul.

Erdogan, who in the past was one of the fiercest critics of Tel Aviv over its treatment of Palestinians, has recently softened his stance on the Israeli occupation. In the past few months he has held telephone calls with senior Israeli officials including Herzog and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

The relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv have been very tumultuous during the last decade. In 2010, the two countries recalled their ambassadors after Israeli commandos attacked  the Turkish Mavi Marmara flotilla delivering aid to Gaza.

The attack killed nine Turkish citizens and one holding dual US-Turkish citizenship.

On top of this, in May 2018 Ankara expelled the Israeli ambassador to Turkey in response to the killing of 60 Palestinians in Gaza by Israeli soldiers. Tel Aviv responded by expelling Ankara’s diplomatic envoy.

However in December 2021, Erdogan was he was ready to normalize relations with Tel Aviv ”under the right circumstances.”

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