Israel’s top diplomat to attend UN humanitarian summit in Turkey

Israel’s top diplomat to attend UN humanitarian summit in Turkey

Emine Kart - ANKARA
Israel’s top diplomat to attend UN humanitarian summit in Turkey Dore Gold, the director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, will represent his country at next week’s World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, amid expectations that normalization between the two long-estranged countries will have to wait until the next Turkish government stabilizes.

Gold will arrive in Istanbul on May 23, the first day of the two-day long summit, the United Nations’ first-ever world humanitarian summit, a senior Israeli diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News on May 18.

Gold is not expected to proceed to the capital Ankara, said the Israeli diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“There are no plans to hold a meeting on the issue of normalization of relations on the occasion of the World Humanitarian summit,” Turkish diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Last week, Israeli Consul-General Shai Cohen told reporters in Istanbul that normalization must wait until the next government in Ankara stabilizes.

Talks “will have to wait until the composition of a new Turkish government on May 22. I believe it will take another round or two to conclude the deal ... Most of the issues between Israel and Turkey are already, to a certain extent, clear,” Cohen said.

He was referring to the date when Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is been scheduled to step down as leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The AKP has stated that its next leader will be announced on May 19 at a party meeting, ending three weeks of political uncertainty after Davutoğlu’s decision to step down as party leader.

The Turkish and Israeli negotiating teams, headed by Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu; the Israeli prime minister’s special envoy, Joseph Ciechanover; and the acting chairman of the Israeli National Security Council, Gen. Jacob Nagel, met in London on April 8, the Turkish Foreign Ministry stated at the time. When the London meeting took place, the two teams decided to hold their next meeting “in a few weeks,” Israeli diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News in late April.

‘Good political will exists on both sides’

Meanwhile, the Israeli Embassy in Ankara marked the 68th Independence Day of the State of Israel with a reception hosted on the evening of May 17. 

Delivering a speech at the reception, the embassy’s chargé d’affaires, Amira Oron, underlined that Turkey and Israel made “a very positive progress in upgrading their relations” last year.

“Over the last 68 years, the State of Israel invested considerable efforts to develop peaceful relations with countries across the globe, one of which is Turkey, to which we attach great importance. Turkey was the first Muslim country to establish diplomatic relations with Israel in November 1949,” Oron said.

“Since then, good relations have been established between both countries and peoples. Although relations have gone through ups and downs, they were always largely stable, as is required from two democracies. Israel and Turkey share many cultural similarities, mutual interests in politics, economics and also regional challenges. Both peoples share hundreds of years of common history. Thanks to all this, last year showed very positive progress in upgrading our relations. We believe this trend will continue as it is also based on good political will, which exists on both sides,” she added.