Israeli President Isaac Herzog is expected to visit Turkey on March 9-10 to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, sources said Tuesday.
In recent months, the two countries have been working on a rapprochement, with Erdoğan, a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, holding telephone talks with Herzog and other Israeli leaders.
The president had thanked Herzog for calling him to wish him a speedy recovery after testing positive for COVID-19.
Erdoğan said last month that Herzog's visit could open a new chapter in relations between Turkey and Israel and that he was "ready to take steps in Israel's direction in all areas, including natural gas."
Relations between Turkey and Israel hit a low in 2010 following an Israeli naval raid on a Turkish aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, en route to deliver humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip. The raid killed 10 activists.
The event caused an unprecedented crisis in Turkish-Israeli relations that had been peaceful for decades. Both countries even recalled their diplomatic envoys following the incident.
In 2013, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's apology to Turkey and the payment of $20 million (about TL 38 million at the time) in compensation to the Mavi Marmara victims, Turkish-Israeli relations entered a period of normalization.
In December 2016, both countries reappointed ambassadors as part of the reconciliation deal and reiterated several times the necessity to further improve bilateral relations.
However, Turkish officials continue to criticize Israel’s policies targeting Palestinians, including the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem and the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Turkish citizens have also been complaining about Israel’s arbitrary restrictions on visits. However, Israel's informal policy of deportation, visa rejection, arbitrary detention and delay of Turkish nationals for no reason at airports has failed to discourage hundreds of visitors each year.