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Israel, Turkey agree to restore full diplomatic ties

Israel and Turkey want to fully resume diplomatic relations, leaders from both countries said on Wednesday in a historic step that followed a visit by the Israeli prime minister to Turkey.

Tel Aviv/Istanbul, 17 August 2022 (dpa/MIA) – Israel and Turkey want to fully resume diplomatic relations, leaders from both countries said on Wednesday in a historic step that followed a visit by the Israeli prime minister to Turkey.

Both countries have decided to reinstate ambassadors and consuls general, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said.

The step came after Lapid’s visit to Ankara in June and talks with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the official statement said.

The resumption of relations with Turkey is an “important asset for regional stability,” Lapid said according to the statement.

“I commend the renewal of full diplomatic relations with Turkey — an important development that we’ve been leading for the past year,” Israeli President Isaac Herzog said in a separate statement.

The move will encourage cooperation in economy and tourism, Herzog said, adding that “members of all faiths — Muslims, Jews, and Christians — can and must live together in peace.”

Herzog was the first Israeli president to travel to Turkey in ten years, in May.

“We, as Turkey, have too decided to appoint an ambassador to Israel, Tel Aviv,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters on Wednesday in Ankara, calling the move a “positive step.”

The official process of re-appointing envoys will start in the coming days, Çavuşoğlu said, adding Ankara “will continue to defend the rights of Palestine, Jerusalem and Gaza” through direct contact with Israel via its new ambassador.

Pre-dominantly Muslim Turkey and Israel, once close allies, fell out in 2010 after ten Turkish citizens were killed when the Israeli navy stormed a Gaza solidarity ship.

There was an initial rapprochement in 2016 but since the 2018 Gaza crisis, which escalated around the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, the two countries have not had ambassadors in each other’s countries.

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