Leaders of Israel Turkey meet for first time since 2008 on sidelines of UNGA

A month after the two countries declared the restoration of diplomatic relations after years of conflict, the two leaders of Israel and Turkey engaged in a bilateral discussion on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York City.

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On Tuesday, the presidents of Israel and Turkey held their first direct conversations in more than a decade.

 

A month after the two countries declared the restoration of diplomatic relations after years of conflict, the two leaders of Israel and Turkey engaged in a bilateral discussion on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York City.

 

According to a statement from the Israeli prime minister’s office, Yair Lapid emphasised Israel’s desire for the release of four of its people, including two soldiers, who have been missing in the Gaza Strip since a war in 2014.

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“Lapid brought up the issue of missing and captive Israelis and the importance of bringing them home,” the office said.

Turkey was the first Muslim majority country to recognize Israel in 1949, however, ties have deteriorated under Erdogan and the leaders of both countries met in 2008.

Turkey, a member of NATO, has had tight ties with Hamas, the Islamist organisation that serves as the de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip.

The majority of the West sees Hamas as a terrorist organisation. Two Israeli civilians are allegedly being held captive by this organisation.

After an Israeli raid on the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship resulted in the murder of 10 civilians in 2010, relations reached an all-time low.

The boat was a part of a fleet that tried to get over a blockade by bringing aid into Gaza.

However, during the past few months, the cold ties have thawed, and energy has emerged as a major area of collaboration.

New envoys from the two countries are also anticipated to be exchanged soon. Erdogan reaffirmed calls for the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in his address to the UN General Assembly.