Israel appoints first ambassador to Turkey since Gaza spat

Israeli-Turkish ties began to decline after Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose party has roots in Turkey’s Islamist movement, became prime minister in 2003. (Reuters)

Israel appointed an ambassador to Turkey on Tuesday, its first since both countries recalled their envoys five years ago amid a spat over a deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish vessel trying to reach the Gaza Strip.

The Foreign Ministry named Eitan Naeh as the new envoy to Ankara. Local media reported that Naeh is a diplomat currently serving in London but that he has served in Turkey in the past.

The return of ambassadors is part of a reconciliation deal that Israel and Turkey struck earlier this year, ending six years of animosity between the once-close allies.

Israeli-Turkish ties began to decline after Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose party has roots in Turkey’s Islamist movement, became prime minister in 2003.

Relations imploded in 2010 after an Israeli naval raid on a Turkish ship trying to breach the blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Nine Turkish activists were killed in the raid and one later died of wounds sustained in the incident.

Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza after the Islamic militant group Hamas took power there in 2007.

The Israeli and Turkish ambassadors were recalled a year after the incident at sea.

It was not immediately clear on Tuesday when Turkey would appoint its ambassador to Israel.

 

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