Israeli President Isaac Herzog will pay an official visit to Turkey in mid-March, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Thursday ahead of his visit to Kyiv.
Erdoğan, speaking at a news conference before departing, added that both countries were looking to improve ties.
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.
Speaking on the visit, Erdoğan said last month in an interview with Turkey's NTV channel that, "This 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.
Known for its unbreakable solidarity with the Palestinians, Turkey has been voicing support for the Palestinian cause in the international realm for decades. Turkish authorities emphasize that the only way to achieve lasting peace and stability in the Middle East is through a fair and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue within the framework of international law and United Nations resolutions.