Why is a leader who called Israel a ‘terror state’ inviting the Israeli President?

Turkish President Erdogan, who called Israel a “terror state” over Palestinian clashes in Jerusalem, said that Israeli President Herzog may visit Turkey soon.

By Zevi Pilzer, World Israel News

Diplomatic talks are ongoing with Israel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a press conference late Tuesday, underlining that his Israeli counterpart Isaac Herzog may visit Turkey soon.

“We are now holding talks with President Herzog. He could visit us in Turkey,” Erdogan told the reporters.

“Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also has a positive approach,” Erdogan added, emphasizing the Israeli government’s willingness to mend the damaged relations with Turkey and perhaps even reach a normalization agreement between the countries in the future.

In May 2021, Erdogan called Israel a “terror state”, following clashes between Israeli police forces and Palestinian rioters at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Eight months later, it would seem that Erdogan is interested in appeasing the Jewish state.

An Israeli senior diplomatic official told Ynet that there have indeed been discussions about Herzog potentially traveling to Turkey, but “no decisions that it will happen” were made.

The official added that there are improvements in Jerusalem-Ankara relations, but stressed that they will not come at the expense of Israel’s alliance with Greece and Cyprus — Turkey’s neighbors and historic adversaries.

If Herzog does visit Turkey, it will be the first Israeli presidential visit to the country since Shimon Peres in 2007.

Since entering office in July 2021, Herzog and Erdogan have had three phone conversations. The first time, Erdogan called to congratulate Herzog on his election as president. In November, Herzog called Erdogan as part of the efforts to release an Israeli couple that was arrested in Turkey. Last week, Erdogan called to offer Herzog his condolences after the passing of his mother.