Israeli President Isaac Herzog on Sunday night congratulated Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his win in Turkey’s presidential election.
“Congratulations to President @RTErdogan of Türkiye on his election victory. I am convinced that we will continue to work together to strengthen and expand the good ties between Türkiye and Israel,” Herzog tweeted.
Erdogan prevailed in a runoff vote against challenger Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, thus extending his two-decade tenure as Turkey’s leader.
U.S. President Joe Biden similarly tweeted: “Congratulations to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Türkiye on his re-election. I look forward to continuing to work together as NATO Allies on bilateral issues and shared global challenges.”
Jerusalem and Ankara announced last August the restoration of full relations with then-Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, saying that the move would “contribute to deepening ties between the two peoples, expanding economic, trade and cultural ties, and strengthening regional stability.”
In January, Herzog accepted the credentials of Ankara’s ambassador to Israel, Sakir Ozkan Torunlar. The previous month, Israeli Ambassador to Turkey Irit Lillian presented her credentials to Erdogan, taking up a post that had been vacant for four years.
In 2018, Turkey expelled Israel’s envoy and withdrew its ambassador amid fighting between the IDF and Palestinians along the Gaza border.
Once-warm relations deteriorated rapidly following the rise to power of Erdoğan, a supporter of Hamas who has been a fierce critic of Israel’s policies vis-à-vis the Palestinians.
In March, Herzog kicked off the first official visit to the country by an Israeli leader since 2008. He went directly to the Presidential Complex in Ankara, where he met with Erdoğan for several hours.
“I believe that this historic visit will be a turning point in relations between Turkey and Israel. Strengthening relations with the State of Israel has great value for our country,” said Erdoğan.
Added Herzog: “I believe that the coming period will bring new opportunities for both regional and bilateral cooperation. I hope that this important visit, taking place after so long, will provide an opening for future joint opportunities.”