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An Unprecedented Meeting: Foreign Ministers of Israel and Turkey to Meet for the First Time

September 22, 1987
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An unprecedented meeting between the Foreign Ministers of Israel and Turkey will be held in New York next week. This will be the first ever meeting between Israel’s and Turkey’s Foreign Ministers. Sources at the UN told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Monday that Israel’s Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and his Turkish counterpart, Vhait Halefoglu, will meet following the Rosh Hashanah holiday. Both Ministers are in New York to attend the UN General Assembly.

In the view of diplomats here, the meeting between the two officials is likely to create a breakthrough in Turkish-Israeli relations. Turkey, a Moslem country, does not have full diplomatic ties with Israel. The two countries only have consular level representations between them.

The Turkish media reported last week that Ankara has agreed that some 30,000 Iranian Jews will go to Israel from Iran through Turkey. According to those reports, negotiations between the Turkish government and Iranian and Israeli officials have been taking place in recent weeks regarding the emigration of Iranian Jews. Furthermore, the Turkish media claimed that a high level Iranian diplomat flew secretly from Turkey to Israel recently and met with government officials in Israel on the subject.

Sources here told the JTA that Peres and Halefoglu will discuss bilateral relations between the two countries and strengthening the economic ties between them. In addition, the sources said, Turkey is deeply concerned over its worsening relations with Syria, which is also a staunch enemy of Israel.


The General Assembly, in its 42nd annual session, opened general debate Monday. It will be addressed by Peres on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Peres arrived in New York Monday on a 10-day visit to the U.S. during which he will deliver speeches at major forums and meet with Jewish leaders in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. He is scheduled to meet with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze on Wednesday, September 23, and a week later, on September 30, with Secretary of State George Shultz.

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