Israel and Turkey announced a complete renewal of their diplomatic ties on Wednesday (17), following a recent telephone conversation between Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. With this normalization, the two countries are expected to exchange ambassadors and consuls general soon. In a statement, Lapid celebrated the move, saying that this is an “important component for regional stability.”
“The restoration of diplomatic relations is a continuation of the positive direction in the development of relations over the past year, since the diplomatic visit of President [Isaac] Herzog to Ankara and the reciprocal visits of the foreign ministers to Jerusalem and Ankara,” the statement read.
Israel and Turkey had already acted together in July of this year, when the security forces of both countries worked cooperatively to thwart an Iranian assassination plot on Turkish soil. Iranian agents who attempted to kidnap and kill Israeli tourists in Istanbul – in an attack planned in revenge for the alleged assassination of a high-ranking Iranian military figure in May – were tracked down by Turkish forces and arrested.
Israel was a longtime regional ally of Turkey until an operation in 2010 in which 10 Turkish members of a flotilla against the Gaza blockade were eventually killed after they assaulted Israeli soldiers and disregarded Israel’s calls for them to deliver donations that would be passed overland to the people of Gaza without breaching the sea blockade. Among the donations from the Turkish activists present in the group of boats in question, there were also firearms, and two Israeli soldiers were shot at the time.
There was an initial reconciliation in 2016, but the countries drifted apart again in 2018, when dozens of Palestinians ended up dying in clashes with Israeli military personnel on the border dividing the Gaza Strip and Israel, on the day former US President Donald Trump controversially moved the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It was the terrorist group Hamas that encouraged the demonstrations, using them as an opportunity to carry out attacks against the Israeli population, which caused the Israeli forces to have to react to defend the country’s sovereignty and citizens.
For André Lajst, political scientist and executive president of StandWithUs Brazil, the normalization of relations between the two countries is something very positive for both nations and also for the entire region. “The good relationship between Israel and Turkey favors the economic, commercial and cultural ties between these peoples and also strengthens regional stability and security, which is great for containing the influence of Iran, for example, which seeks to develop its nuclear arsenal and can threaten the security of Middle Eastern countries. With two major nations like Israel and Turkey on the same page, possible attacks by Iran or extremist groups can be discouraged,” explains the expert.
*** Translated by the DEFCONPress Team ***