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Israel, Turkey to restore full diplomatic ties

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August 18, 2022: Israel and Turkey announced the resumption of full diplomatic ties on Wednesday, following years of strained relations between the Mediterranean nations.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid hailed the step as an "important asset for regional stability and very important economic news for the citizens" of the Jewish state.

Lapid's office said the decision to resume ties would see ambassadors and consuls general posted to the two countries once more and direct flights restarted.

The prime minister held a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which they agreed the move would "lead to many achievements, especially in the fields of commerce and tourism," it said.

Erdogan's office said that in the call he expressed his support for the "development of cooperation and dialogue between Turkey and Israel on a sustainable basis and on the basis of respect for mutual sensitivities".

The announcement follows months of bilateral efforts to mend ties, with reciprocal visits by top officials.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the return of ambassadors was "important to improve bilateral ties" while vowing to "defend" Palestinian rights.

Cavusoglu in May became the first Turkish foreign minister to visit Israel in 15 years, during a trip that also saw him meet the Palestinian leadership in the occupied West Bank.

During a landmark visit by Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Ankara two months earlier, Erdogan proclaimed their meeting marked "a turning point in our relations".

Bilateral relations began to fray in 2008, following an Israeli military operation in Gaza.

Relations then froze in 2010 after the deaths of 10 civilians following an Israeli raid on the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship, part of a flotilla trying to breach a blockade by carrying aid into Gaza.

A brief reconciliation lasted from 2016 until 2018 when Turkey withdrew its ambassador and expelled Israel over the killing of Palestinians. More than 200 Gazans were shot dead by Israeli forces during border protests from 2018 to 2019.

The Israeli president on Wednesday said the full renewal of ties "will encourage greater economic relations, mutual tourism, and friendship between the Israeli and Turkish peoples".

Despite the diplomatic differences in recent years, trade had continued and Turkey has remained a popular destination for Israeli tourists.

Defend' Palestinians

Turkey has meanwhile been keen to stress its normalization with Israel could yield benefits for the Palestinians.

"As we have always said, we will continue to defend the rights of Palestinians," Cavusoglu said.

As well as its relations with the Palestinian leadership based in the West Bank, Turkey has also maintained ties with the Islamist group Hamas that rules Gaza.


Posted on:2022-08-18T09:53:10+05:00