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Türkiye to reappoint ambassador to Israel ‘soon’

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Türkiye will reappoint an ambassador to Israel “soon,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said

Speaking in a televised interview, he said that an ambassador candidate for Israel will be presented to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan soon.

He reiterated that normalizing ties with Israel does not mean Türkiye will make concessions on the issue of Palestine.

Palestinian authorities also welcome the normalization of ties between Ankara and Tel Aviv, he added.

“Dialogue should continue even if you do not agree on everything. Through this dialogue, we will better defend the Palestinian cause,” he said adding that the normalization of relations is beneficial for the region.

Later on Tuesday, Erdoğan will meet his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas at the presidential complex in Ankara.

The veteran Palestinian leader’s visit is widely seen as an attempt by Türkiye to show that it stood by old allies even as it repairs relations with more recent rivals.

Ankara supports a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and has condemned Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its policy toward Palestinians, while Israel has called on Türkiye to drop its support for the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, which runs Gaza. Türkiye has said it will not abandon its commitment to Palestine in order to broker closer ties with Israel.

Türkiye and Israel take steps to normalize ties, including last week’s decision to restore full diplomatic relations and reappoint ambassadors and consuls general after a four-year hiatus.

Türkiye and Israel will mutually reappoint ambassadors, Çavuşoğlu announced last week. “The steps we would take to normalize relations include mutually reappointing of ambassadors … Türkiye decided to appoint an ambassador to Israel, to Tel Aviv,” he told a news conference with his Kyrgyz counterpart Jeenbek Kulubaev in Ankara.

Çavuşoğlu said the process will begin with determining who will be appointed. “We will continue to defend the rights of Palestine, Jerusalem and Gaza, and it is important that our messages are conveyed directly to Tel Aviv at the ambassador level,” the foreign minister added.

In May, Çavuşoğlu visited Israel, the first by a Turkish foreign minister in 15 years, to discuss the normalization of ties.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid also announced last week that the two states decided to restore full diplomatic ties and reappoint ambassadors and consuls general.

“The resumption of relations with Türkiye is important for regional stability and very important economic news for the citizens of Israel,” Lapid said.

The premier said the restoration of diplomatic relations is a continuation of the positive direction in the development of relations over the past year, adding: “Upgrading relations will contribute to deepening ties between the two peoples, expanding economic, trade, and cultural ties, and strengthening regional stability.”

Following the announcement, President Erdoğan discussed bilateral relations and regional issues with the prime minister of Israel in a phone call.

Erdoğan told Yair Lapid that Ankara would take the necessary steps to appoint a new ambassador to Israel as soon as possible.

Erdoğan said he supports the development of cooperation and dialogue between Türkiye and Israel, built on a sustainable basis and respect for mutual sensitivities.

He also expressed his satisfaction with the progress achieved in relations under a framework agreed upon during recent visits to Türkiye by Lapid and Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

The relations between Türkiye and Israel will gain a “new momentum” after the appointment of ambassadors, Erdoğan also said on Friday.

Erdoğan and his Israeli counterpart Herzog discussed bilateral relations and regional issues over the phone.

During the conversation, Erdoğan said he considers the decision to mutually appoint ambassadors “an important step” toward the positive development of Türkiye-Israel relations.

Erdoğan told Herzog that Türkiye is in favor of developing cooperation and dialogue on the basis of respect for mutual sensitivities.

Meanwhile, Herzog said on Twitter that he spoke with Erdoğan on the occasion of the restoration of full diplomatic relations, the return of ambassadors and consuls-general and the resumption of Israeli flights to Türkiye.

“We welcomed the development and expressed our hopes for future progress,” he added.

Herzog also thanked Erdoğan for his “critical contribution” to the agreement for the export of grain from Ukraine and for his recent meetings with the presidents of Russia and Ukraine.

A visit to Türkiye by Herzog in March, followed by visits by both foreign ministers, helped warm relations after more than a decade of tensions.

During the landmark visit by Herzog to Ankara in March, Erdoğan proclaimed the meeting marked “a turning point in our relations.”

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

The announcement follows months of bilateral efforts to mend ties that began to fray in 2008, following an Israeli military operation in Gaza.

Relations then froze 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 in 2010.

A 2016 reconciliation agreement that saw the return of ambassadors all but collapsed in 2018-2019, when more than 200 Gazans were shot dead by Israeli forces during border protests.

The two countries expelled ambassadors in 2018 over the killing of 60 Palestinians by Israeli forces during protests on the Gaza border against the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

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