For the first time since the reconciliation: senior Turkish journalists in Israel
The Foreign Ministry is hosting 11 senior journalists from major Turkish media outlets this week; They have already met with the Speaker of the Knesset, and are expected to receive further briefings, explore the Temple Mount, Yad Vashem, the Gaza envelope and Tel Aviv.
The journalists visited various sites and partook in meetings with senior Israeli officials, and are expected to tour Jerusalem, the Gaza envelope and Tel Aviv.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry hosted the journalists, who work in major media outlets in Turkey, including CNN Turk, NTV network, and the daily newspaper Hürriyet. During the visit, the journalists all agreed that "it seems a brighter future awaits the relations between the two countries."
Journalist Doiigo Guvanch from Hürriyet Daily News said: "It seems that significant efforts are made to develop relations after the regulation, but it is certainly evident that more time is needed. I cannot say that the two sides understand each other, yet they are attentive to each other. There is concern that if the Syrian issue does not resolve soon, Israel and Turkey will be forced to increase cooperation beyond what we had planned or dreamed of with the current politicians."
On Monday, the journalists met with Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) and MK Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) during a tour of the Knesset.
They asked Edelstein if he would invite the President of the Turkish Parliament for an official visit of the Knesset, and Edelstein said: "I would be happy if the President of the Turkish Parliament arrived for an official visit in the Knesset … The European Conference of Heads of Parliaments is set to take place in Turkey in just over a year, but I'd be happy if we could meet earlier. Not for a photo-op of a handshake, such a handshake had already taken place when we met in Strasbourg. Such a meeting is important because we have a lot to talk about—regional stability and promoting cooperation between the countries of the region and between their parliaments."
Edelstein added: "We have recently started a trilateral dialogue between the Knesset and the parliaments of Greece and Cyprus. I would be delighted if Turkey, Jordan and Egypt and other countries in the region joined this important discussion."
In addition, the reporters met with Foreign Ministry officials, and with the Minister for Regional Cooperation Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud). "The real test to our relationship will come about if a Gaza crisis arises. However, there is hope that we can avoid it," Hanegbi said.
On Tuesday, they will be visiting the Jerusalem Old City and the Temple Mount, and will receive a briefing from the Israel Police. This will be followed by a visit to Yad Vashem and then have a Biblical-themed lunch at one of the capital's restaurants. On the following day, they are set to visit the Hadassah Medical Center, the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv, and the Peres Center for Peace.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon, who is hosting the delegation and even spoke to them in Turkish, said: "The journalist delegation, the first of its kind since the reconciliation between Israel and Turkey, is certainly the first sign that heralds the coming of spring."