Turkey and Israel have agreed to restore full diplomatic relations and will return ambassadors to each other’s countries.
“Upgrading relations will contribute to deepening ties between the two peoples, expanding economic, trade, and cultural ties, and strengthening regional stability,” a statement from the office of the Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Wednesday, after a conversation between Lapid and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Lapid said in a statement that “restoring ties with Turkey is an important asset to the stability of the region and bears great economic significance to Israel’s citizens.
“We’ll continue working and strengthening Israel’s international standing in the world,” Lapid said.
President Isaac Herzog also welcomed the renewal of diplomatic ties with Turkey, calling it an “important development.”
“[The] appointment of ambassadors was one of the steps for the normalisation of ties,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at a news conference in Ankara. “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.”
Cavusoglu added that the move did not mean that Turkey would be abandoning the Palestinian cause.
After years of tense relations between Turkey and Israel, the countries recently softened their stances towards one another.
In 2010, ties between Turkey and Israel soured after nine activists aboard a Turkish flotilla carrying aid for Gaza were killed in an Israeli attack. In response, Ankara immediately withdrew its ambassador.
After six years of suspended relations, the countries restored diplomatic ties, reappointed ambassadors in 2016.
But two years later, following the U.S. decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Turkey once again expelled Israel’s ambassador in Ankara and recalled its envoys from Israel.
Turkey is currently undergoing a severe economic crisis and has been reaching out to neighbouring countries, including Israel, to improve economic ties.