Israel nominates Eitan Na’eh as new envoy to Turkey
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARAThe Israeli Foreign Ministry has nominated Eitan Na’eh as the new ambassador to Turkey, although the prospective envoy first needs to pass the Israeli government’s security committee in order to be formally appointed to Ankara.
Turkey and Israel are expected to simultaneously announce a mutual exchange of ambassadors as part of a normalization deal following the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.
The prime ministry’s adviser for foreign affairs, Kemal Ökem, is likely to be Turkey’s new ambassador to Israel, although Turkey has yet to make any official announcement as to its choice for the post.
Na’eh, who is currently serving as the deputy head of the Israel embassy in London, is familiar with Turkey.
He was assigned as first and second secretary in Ankara in 1993.
In 1997 he served as deputy consul general for press and information in Chicago and the Midwest, and in 1999 as the head of the Turkish-Greek and Cyprus desk in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.
Most recently, from 2009, he served as senior director at the diplomatic secretariat of the National Security Council at the office of Israel’s prime minister.
Na’eh was selected from among seven diplomats who applied for Israel’s embassy in Ankara. After nomination by the Foreign Ministry on Nov. 15, the Israeli government’s security committee will formally appoint him as the country’s new ambassador to Turkey.
Diplomatic ties between Turkey and Israel were disrupted in May 2010 when Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish activists on the Mavi Marmara, a ship bound for Gaza with humanitarian aid.
In the aftermath of the attack, Turkey demanded an official apology from Israel, compensation for the families of those killed, and the lifting of Israel’s Gaza blockade.
In 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced regret over the incident to Turkey’s then-prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
In addition to compensation, Israel has agreed to Turkey’s humanitarian presence in the Gaza Strip.
On Aug. 20, Turkey’s parliament approved a deal involving Tel Aviv paying $20 million to the families of the victims, a sum which was paid on Sept. 30.