When the Israeli-Turkish romance began last summer, initially with hesitant overtures and subsequently with a lively dance of courtship, Israeli assessments described it as a one-off flirt. President Isaac Herzog, who was the main object of Turkey’s attentions, actually took it seriously. Herzog is the consummate politician, a man so affable he can even befriend a crocodile in the Nile. From the start, he assumed the role in which Turkey cast him with an energetic and sincere attitude. It has since become clear that the Turks are not interested in a passing fling. Judging by his statements and actions, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking a stable, mutual and fruitful relationship.
Herzog is scheduled to hold an official visit to Turkey in mid-March, exactly 30 years after a similar visit by his parents, the late President Chaim Herzog and his wife, Aura. “He will receive a welcome fit for kings,” a senior diplomatic source in Jerusalem, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Al-Monitor. To reassure Israel’s Mediterranean Hellenic allies, Herzog will hold an official visit to Greece next week and to Cyprus the week after. “Our friends in Greece and Cyprus are in the loop and have given their blessing,” Herzog recently told Al-Monitor. “Everyone understands that what is happening in the Middle East will benefit all sides.”