Israel and Turkey to restore full diplomatic ties

Turkey and Israel will re-appoint their respective ambassadors more than four years after they were called back, both countries said on Wednesday, making for a breakthrough after months of steady improvement in relations.

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s office said on Wednesday the two countries decided to restore full diplomatic ties.

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,” the Israeli PM’s office said in a statement following a conversation between him and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

“Upgrading relations will contribute to deepening ties between the two peoples, expanding economic, trade, and cultural ties, and strengthening regional stability,” it added.

Normalisation of relations

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the appointment of ambassadors was one of the steps required in the normalisation of bilateral relations.

Such a positive step came from Israel as a result of these efforts, and as Turkey, we also decided to appoint an ambassador to Israel, to Tel Aviv,” the Turkish foreign minister said at a news conference in Ankara, adding that Turkey is currently selecting someone.

Long-strained ties

Turkey and Israel are rebuilding ties to ambassador level: Turkish FM

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The two regional powers expelled their ambassadors in 2018 after 60 Palestinians died in clashes with Israeli forces, during protests on the Gaza border against the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

However, they have been since working to mend their long-strained ties with the issue of energy emerging as a key area for potential cooperation.

The move, which comes as Israel seeks to improve ties with regional powers, was agreed upon two years after the so-called Abraham Accords which saw relations normalised between Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco.

A visit to Turkey by Israeli President Isaac Herzog in March, followed by visits by both foreign ministers, helped in warming relations after more than a decade of tensions.

Turkey also launched a charm offensive in 2020 to repair ties with estranged rivals, with overtures to Egypt, the UAE, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Efforts with Cairo have so far yielded little progress, nevertheless officials have said normalisation work with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi is going well.