Turkey and Israel confirmed their continuation of full diplomatic relations

Israel and Turkey announced on Wednesday the full restoration of their diplomatic relations and the return of the two countries’ ambassadors, but Ankara immediately reaffirmed its desire to “continue to protect” the Palestinians.

Relations between Israel and Turkey have seen a warming in recent months after a year of separation caused by the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara.

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In 2010, Israeli forces launched a deadly attack on a ship trying to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave under Israeli blockade and controlled by the Islamists of Hamas with representatives also in Turkey. .

In May 2018, after nearly 50 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army in Gaza, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel and expelled the Israeli ambassador. Israel retaliated by sending the Turkish consul general back to Jerusalem. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then accused Israel of “state terrorism”.

Return of the ambassadors

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced the return of the ambassadors and consul general of the two countries after a “decision to raise the level of relations to full diplomatic relations”.

“The restoration of relations with Turkey is an important asset for regional stability and very important economic news for the citizens of Israel,” he said in a statement.

In Ankara, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu confirmed the restoration of full relations while stressing that Turkey will continue “to protect the rights of the Palestinians”.

“It is important that our messages (on the Palestinian question) be sent directly through the ambassador,” he said, hinting at the upcoming appointment of an ambassador in Tel Aviv.


During a rare visit to Jerusalem at the end of May, Mr. Cavusoglu estimated that the normalization of relations “will have a positive effect on the peaceful resolution of the conflict” Israeli-Palestinian.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, has previously criticized Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians.

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After more than a decade of diplomatic rift, Israel and Turkey restored relations with Israeli President Isaac Herzog during a visit to Ankara in March, the first of its kind since 2007.

Mr. Herzog welcomed the continuation of relations, which “will encourage greater economic relations, mutual tourism and friendship between the two peoples”.

In November 2021, Mr. Erdogan spoke by phone with Mr. Herzog and former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the first of their kind since 2013, on the occasion of the release and return to their country of a couple of Israeli tourists accused of espionage. and imprisoned in Turkey.

Links to Hamas

Mr. Erdogan, who maintains close ties with Hamas, then indicated that his country was considering a “gradual” rapprochement with Israel.

“We should not have the illusion that the relationship will return to what it was in the good old days of the 1990s,” said Ephraim Inbar, director of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security.

“As long as Erdogan is in power there will be some hostility from Turkey to Israel because of its Islamic relations. He will continue to support Hamas, for example,” he told AFP. “Turkey is an important Muslim country, which can act as a counterweight to Iran, so it is a very strategic country” for Israel, says Mr. Inbar.

In June, Israel called on Israeli nationals in Turkey to leave the country “as soon as possible” for fear of attacks from Iran, an enemy of the Jewish state, before stepping down. the alert level.

Gas pipeline project

The announcement of full resumption of relations also comes at a time when Turkey is facing high inflation and the collapse of its currency.

In January, Erdogan announced that his country was ready to cooperate with Israel on a gas pipeline project in the eastern Mediterranean, which he had previously opposed.

The issue of energy cooperation between the two countries, against the backdrop of the discoveries of deposits in the eastern Mediterranean, has become more urgent as many European countries seek to reduce their dependence on Russian gas.

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