(Bloomberg) -- Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday to advance a nascent thaw after more than a decade of frosty relations.
Both countries are seeking a broader rapprochement with Middle Eastern states as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered a geopolitical shift in the region by disrupting supply chains and commodity markets.
Erdogan hosted Netanyahu at Turkish House, near the UN headquarters in New York, and discussed regional issues as well as political and economic relations between the two countries, according to his office. Erdogan told Netanyahu that Turkey and Israel can cooperate in the fields of energy, technology, innovation, artificial intelligence and cyber security, his office said.
The two countries are exploring gas exports from Israel as well as a field off the Gaza Strip to Europe via Turkey. It’s unclear how much gas the Gaza field may contain and distributing it likely remains years away because of a lack of export infrastructure.
“There are ways to bring Israeli gas to European markets through Turkey,” Alparslan Bayraktar, Turkey’s energy minister, said in Ankara last week. “Especially southeast Europe needs Israeli gas as well.”
Turkey and Israel, however, remain divided over the status of Palestinian territories and Israel accuses Ankara of supporting Hamas, the Islamic militant group that runs the Gaza Strip. Ties hit a low after a deadly 2010 Israeli raid on a Turkish flotilla headed to Gaza. They resumed full diplomatic relations in August last year.
Erdogan and Netanyahu also discussed the Palestinian conflict, the Turkish president’s communications office said without elaborating.
Both counties have sought to repair relations with Arab countries in the region. Erdogan has recently sealed defense and economy cooperation deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates during a Gulf tour.
Israel established diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates and Morocco in 2020, and is pushing to do the same with Saudi Arabia.
--With assistance from Firat Kozok.
(Updates with details in third and seventh paragraphs.)
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