Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu Trip to Israel To Include Temple Mount Visit
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu will visit Israel next week as part of efforts to renew diplomatic relations between the two countries, including the return of ambassadors, but his visit could be marred by his reported plan to visit the Temple Mount, the scene of violence between Israeli forces and Muslim worshippers. The Kan public broadcaster in Israel reported on Thursday that Çavuşoğlu plans to visit the sensitive site without any Israeli officials or security. This plan has raised the hackles of Israel’s Shin Bet security service, which says that there are specific security protocols that must be followed, according to the report.
Çavuşoğlu originally had planned to visit Israel last month, but the visit was postponed due to tension between Israel and the Palestinians during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Ties between Turkey and Israel – once close regional allies – reached their nadir after the death of 10 civilians in an Israeli raid on a blockade-busting Turkish flotilla carrying aid for the Gaza Strip in 2010. Relations broke down again in 2018, after Turkey, enraged by the US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem, once again recalled its ambassador from Israel, prompting Israel to also recall its envoy. Çavuşoğlu’s visit comes on the heels of a visit to Ankara in March by Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, the first Israeli leader to visit the country since 2008.