Israeli and Turkish flags >, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will visit Israel this week in the latest sign of improving relations between the Jewish state and Turkey.

One of the key issues on the agenda is likely to be energy cooperation, following the discovery of natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean in the last decade.

The ongoing war in Ukraine has particularly increased the salience of the region’s gas reserves, as countries seek alternatives to Russian fossil fuels.

Turkey’s president Erdogan has clearly indicated his country’s openness to energy collaboration with Israel, most recently during Israeli president Herzog’s visit to Turkey in March.

Turkey is thought to import around half of its energy from Russia, explaining its efforts to improve ties with Israel and other energy partners.

The recent thaw follows a decade of poor relations between Israel and Turkey, including a 2010 Gaza flotilla incident in which 9 Turkish citizens were killed, and Turkey’s record of supporting the Hamas terror group.

Indeed, Turkey has sought to improve ties with a number of other regional powers – including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt – in recent months.

Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognise Israel in March 1949.