(Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday for the first face-to-face talks between leaders of nations allied to the United States. since 2008, Lapid’s office said.
Relations between Israel and Turkey, long frozen amid disputes over the Palestinian cause, have heated up in recent months, with energy emerging as a key area of cooperation. New ambassadors are expected to be exchanged soon.
In addition to talking about energy, Lapid thanked Erdogan for the countries’ intelligence sharing and noted Israel’s demand for the return of four of its citizens, two of them soldiers, missing in the Gaza Strip since the 2014 war. Lapid’s office said.
NATO member Turkey has hosted members of Hamas, a Palestinian Islamist movement that rules Gaza and is designated as a terror group by much of the West. That relationship has often been a sticking point in attempts to rebuild ties with Israel.
Ankara, for its part, was outraged by the 2010 killing of 10 Turkish activists in fights that broke out when Israeli marines stormed a ship trying to break Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza.
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(Written by Dan Williams; Editing by Michael Perry)
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