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Israel’s FM Lapid makes first visit to Turkey, focused on security cooperation

When Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid scheduled his trip to Turkey, he didn’t know he would be arriving almost as a prime minister.
Israel's Foreign Minister Yair Lapid with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevult Cavusuglo at a joint press conference, Ankara, Turkey, June 23, 2022.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu concluded a short while ago their joint press conference, ending the one-day visit of Lapid to Ankara. It was the first time in many years that an Israeli foreign minister made an official visit to the Turkish capital — a visit that highlighted the continuing rapprochement process between Ankara and Jerusalem. In March, Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited Turkey, and Cavusoglu visited Israel at the end of May.

In his opening remarks, Lapid addressed publications earlier in the day that Turkish security services thwarted June 17 attempts by Iranian agents to kidnap a former Israeli ambassador and his wife, on a tourism visit to Istanbul. Reportedly, the Iranian cell targeted also other vacationing Israelis. The Mossad whisked the targeted Israelis out of the country and flew them back to Israel. Reports further said some 10 people were arrested last week in relation to the plot. The cell apparently split into four groups of two hit persons each. They were arrested in their hotel rooms while planning attacks. Turkish police also seized arms.

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