Foes to Friends: Turkey and Israel restore full diplomatic ties

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid (L) and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (R). (Photo: STR/EPA-EFE)

Wednesday, after years of tension over Palestine, former adversaries Israel and Turkey reestablished full diplomatic relations by agreeing to reappoint their respective ambassadors.

Following a congratulatory phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid stated, "The resumption of relations with Turkey is an important asset for regional stability and very important economic news for the citizens of Israel,"

The reunion comes one year after the thawing of relations between Turkey and Israel. It was marked by a state visit by Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Ankara in March and trips by their respective foreign ministers. It also comes four years after Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Israel in 2018, during a deadly Israeli crackdown on protestors against the United States' plan to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem, and Israel withdrew its envoy from Ankara.

According to a statement released by Lapid, "This restoration of diplomatic relations is a continuation of the positive direction in the development of relations over the past year, since President Herzog's diplomatic visit to Ankara, and the reciprocal visits of the foreign ministers to Jerusalem and Ankara,"

Both nations have agreed to exchange ambassadors and consuls general, but no date has been set. The exchange would reestablish ties after years of animosity over Palestine as a result of Israel's 2008 military incursion in the Gaza Strip, which killed 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, and its 2010 attack, which murdered nine Turkish activists transporting humanitarian aid to Gaza. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized and paid Turkey $20 million for the incident.

Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters that "mutually reappointing of ambassadors." is required to normalize relations after years of conflict.

Cavusoglu stated, "We will continue to defend the rights of Palestine, Jerusalem and Gaza, and it's also important that we will be able to pass on our messages regarding this issue directly to Tel Aviv, at the ambassadorial level,"

As Lapid and Erdogan have agreed to reinstate Israeli flights to Turkey, business and tourism connections are also expected to be a focus.

Herzog tweeted on Wednesday, "I commend the renewal of full diplomatic relations with Turkey," It's "an important development that we've been leading for the past year, which will encourage greater economic relations, mutual tourism and friendship between Israeli and Turkish peoples."

Publish : 2022-08-18 07:33:00

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