Turkey will send two ministers to Israel in the near future in a bid to boost bilateral cooperation, the two countries announced in a joint statement on 01 Feb, following the first meeting between Jerusalem and Ankara officials in almost seven years.
Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem has been on a three-day visit to Ankara and Istanbul with the aim of developing “bilateral ties and strengthening cooperation in the political, economic and cultural spheres”, said ministry spokesman Emanuel Nahshon.
The aim of the three-day visit is to “continue developing bilateral ties and strengthen cooperation on the political, economic and cultural spheres,” an Israeli Foreign Ministry statement said on Jan. 31.
“The political dialogue sends a positive message on the commitment of both sides to deepen the relationship between the two countries,” read the statement, adding that the talks will also “allow for comprehensive discussion, after six years of … challenges, on the drastic changes in the region.”
Rotem met with senior Turkish Foreign Ministry officials as well as with Israeli Embassy staff in Ankara, Israeli Consulate staff in Istanbul and local Jewish leaders.
Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avci is due to visit Israel on February 7 as part of the drive to renew ties.
Turkey and Israel are now aiming at normalizing the bilateral relations and increasing the number of mutual visits.
Issues on the agenda between the two countries were evaluated during the talks, especially opportunities for cooperation in the fields of energy, the economy, culture and tourism, a Foreign Ministry official said.
Also on the agenda is a revamp on the free trade agreement between Turkey and Israel expanding to issues such as agricultural products.
Israel is one of the top 20 countries with which Turkey actively conducts foreign trade. According to data released by the Turkish Statistics Institute (TurkStat) on foreign trade in November, the total volume of Turkish exports to Israel is valued at approximately $2.7 billion for the January-November 2016 period, recording a 9.2 percent increase compared to the same period of the previous year. Moreover, the monthly export volume to Israel in November increased by 8.8 percent compared to November 2015, reaching around $240 million.
Talks on expanding energy collaborations between the two countries also top the economic agenda of both countries as a potential pipeline that could be built through Turkey to carry petroleum gas from the Mediterranean to Europe is deemed highly lucrative for Israel, compelling both countries to expand the existing FTA in another indication that normalization continues to gain momentum.
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