Israeli President Isaac Herzog meets with Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
But Erdogan, as a self-proclaimed champion of pan-Islamist causes, faces a backlash from his own camp, which condemned Herzog's visit.
"We, the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), were surprised by the official visit of the head of state of the occupying Zionist entity to our sanctuary and our first destination; the Turkish Republic, and by the official reception given to him by the Turkish presidency," said a statement from the Islamist group, which was founded by radical Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
It called the visit "ominous," and noted Turkey's history of "honorable stances against the Israeli occupation and aggression."
"We entered the den of the West once and were stung by the scorpion of liberalism, then we entered again and were stung by the snake of socialism, and if we were truly believers, we would not have been stung from the same hole twice," al-Qaradawi tweeted.
For decades, Erdogan represented the political leader for Islamists to follow. He championed Islamist causes. Gallup's Annual Index of Global Leaders found he was the most popular Muslim leader worldwide.
Directly attacking Erdogan, therefore, would represent a major split among Islamists over the leader who was glorified for decades.
But things have changed.
On Wednesday, Turkey's embassy in Israel condemned the latest in a series of terrorist attacks in Israel. Five people were killed in the Bnei Brak shooting attack, including an Arab-Israeli police officer and two Ukrainian nationals, bringing the total to 11 people dead in three separate terrorist attacks in the past week.
Hamas praised the terrorists as "heroic," while the Palestinian Islamic Jihad cast it as part of "the resistance to the occupation."
"We are concerned that these attacks, which have increased in recent days, will drag the region back into conflict ahead of the upcoming month of Ramadan and Passover Holiday," the Turkish embassy said. "We extend our condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in Bnei Brak, as well as to the Government and the people of Israel, and wish a speedy recovery to the injured."
The Turkish embassy also condemned an earlier attack in Hadera.
After years of aggressive policies that placed Turkey on a collision course with Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, diplomatic isolation and economic strains are forcing Erdogan to reverse course. Last year, he initiated a rapprochement with Egypt after years of hostility over Libya's political leadership. In 2019, he vowed to never reconcile with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
But Turkey recently expelled a number of Muslim Brotherhood activists, including Yasser al-Omda, who was forced out earlier this month for incitement against the Egyptian government.
Herzog's visit to Turkey may be more surprising.
Without directly criticizing Erdogan, Hamas expressed disappointment about the visit and repeated "our refusal to communicate with the occupying Zionist entity, and we call for more support for our people to end the occupation and restore our national rights ... We express our regret over these visits to our brothers in Arab and Islamic countries, which we consider a strategic depth for our Palestinian people and their just national cause."
Turkey's relations with Hamas have been a point of contention between Washington and Ankara. Hamas received direct financial and political support from Turkey for years. In 2020, the United States condemned Turkey for receiving two Hamas leaders, including political leader Ismail Haniyeh.
"President Erdogan's continued outreach to this terrorist organization only serves to isolate Turkey from the international community, harms the interests of the Palestinian people, and undercuts global efforts to prevent terrorist attacks launched from Gaza," the State Department said.
Turkish-Israeli relations reached rock-bottom in 2010, after an Israeli special forces raid on a flotilla aimed at breaking a blockade on Gaza. Passengers on the Mavi Marmara fought with the commandos. In the fight, nine Turkish activists were killed and 10 Israelis were wounded.
His aggressive approach to Israel fits with Erdogan's longtime support for the Muslim Brotherhood and its franchises all over the world. He supported Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood-led government during its ill-fated year in power and adopted a hostile stance after Mohamed Morsi's ouster in a popular revolution in June 2013.
Now, Turkey is largely silent as Egypt, the UAE and others hold historic meetings with Israeli leaders.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Israeli Prime Minister Neftali Bennett and Emirati Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed held a trilateral summit in Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt last week to coordinate efforts in light of the ongoing negotiations over Iran's nuclear weapons program.
That meeting was followed by Monday's Negev Summit which witnessed the foreign ministers of Egypt, the UAE, Morocco, Bahrain, Israel and the United States in Israel to discuss regional security and the threat posed by Iran.
Meanwhile, some Turkish-based Islamists chose to yield to Erdogan's reversed policies, especially those who could be put on trial if returned to their native countries.
"My personal position is that every 'Muslim' country that has relations with the Zionist entity should strive with all its might to end this relationship, and put this entity in the ranks of enemies, not in the ranks of friends or allies, not even in the list of neutrals... Turkey is (so far) a 'secular' country according to the constitution!" tweeted Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Ahmed Abdel-Aziz, who lives in Turkey.
"From my side, I think the best of [Erdogan] as I think best of the leadership of Hamas, and I see him in the exact same situation as her," Abdel-Aziz wrote.
Yielding to reality and placing his expansionist ambitions on the back burner, Erdogan is suspending hostile pan-Islamist policies despite by Islamists' opinions, especially those who were granted refuge on Turkish soil because the latter cannot afford to avoid falling in line with his new politics, and thereby face the consequences.
IPT Senior Fellow Hany Ghoraba is an Egyptian writer, political and counter-terrorism analyst at Al Ahram Weekly, author of Egypt's Arab Spring: The Long and Winding Road to Democracy and a regular contributor to the BBC.
Copyright © 2022. Investigative Project on Terrorism. All rights reserved.