Turkish envoy assumes Israel post as relations warm


Turkey’s ambassador to Israel, Şakir Özkan Torunlar, presented his credentials to President Isaac Herzog on Jan. 11, the latest move in rebuilding ties after years of crisis between the two countries.

Relations were frozen in 2010 after a deadly Israeli raid on the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship, part of a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid that was trying to breach a blockade on the Palestinian Gaza Strip.

“Today we complete another important step, reaching another milestone in the strengthening of our relations and deepening of the friendship between Turkey and Israel,” Herzog said following the ceremony.

Bilateral relations began to fray following an Israeli military strike in Gaza in 2008 and deteriorated sharply after the 2010 maritime incident that claimed the lives of 10 civilians.

A brief reconciliation from 2016 ended two years later when Turkey withdrew its ambassador and expelled Israel’s over the killing of Palestinians in Gaza.

Following months of talks including a visit by Herzog to Turkey last March, the two countries announced in August the full restoration of relations and the return of ambassadors.

Ties are now “on a very encouraging trajectory,” said Herzog, who also invited his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to visit Israel.Last month, Israel’s new ambassador to Turkey, Irit Lillian, presented her credentials to Erdoğan.__Daily Hurriyet