Turkiye, Israel agree to restore full diplomatic relations

Relations between Turkiye and Israel is set to return to normal, with the two countries agreeing to send an ambassador to the other, ending a four year period of frostiness between the former allies.

The development was announced on Wednesday, 17 August, following a conversation between the Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

“I just spoke with President @RTErdogan of Türkiye. We congratulated one another on the decision to fully renew our diplomatic ties. 🇮🇱and 🇹🇷are two key countries in the region. Bolstering our ties contributes to regional stability & brings tangible benefits for both nations,” the Israeli Prime Minister tweeted.

A statement from PM Lapid’s office said: “It was decided to once again upgrade the level of the relations between the two countries to that of full diplomatic ties and to return ambassadors and consuls general,” adding, “Upgrading relations will contribute to deepening ties between the two peoples, expanding economic, trade, and cultural ties, and strengthening regional stability.”

The decision to restore full diplomatic relations follows gradual positive exchanges between the two states. One of the most significant indicators of a thawing in ties came when Israeli President Isaac Herzog made an official visit to Ankara in March of this year, which was followed by visits from the two foreign ministers.

Israel and Turkiye had experienced strained relations for a decade, falling out completely over the killing of 60 Palestinians by Israeli forces in May 2018, during protests on the Gaza border against the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem. Each country expelled the ambassador of the other.

According to media reports, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters in Ankara that the appointment of ambassadors was “one of the steps for the normalisation of ties”.

“Such a positive step came from Israel, and as a result of these efforts, and as Turkiye, we also decided to appoint an ambassador to Israel, to Tel Aviv,” he said.

The Turkish Foreign Minister also stressed the move did not mean that Turkiye was abandoning the Palestinian cause:“We have always said we will continue to defend the rights of Palestine, Jerusalem and Gaza. It’s important that our messages are conveyed at the ambassadorial level in Tel Aviv,” Mr Çavuşoğlu said.