Turkey accredits ambassador to ‘Palestinian state’

Turkey accredits ambassador to ‘Palestinian state’

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey accredits ambassador to ‘Palestinian state’

Turkey’s consul-general Torunlar (L) will be ‘ambassador’ to Palestinian State’ in a reflection of Ankara to Palestine’s new status in the UN. AA photo

The title of Turkey’s consul-general in Jerusalem has been upgraded to “ambassador” in an apparent reflection of Palestine’s new, non-member state status in the United Nations, as Ankara had already recognized Palestine as a state as soon as the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) declared itself as such in 1988.

Turkey’s consul-general in Jerusalem, Şakir Özkan Torunlar, will present credentials to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official told Hürriyet Daily News today.

Ankara’s move parallels Turkey’s support of Palestine’s bid to join the United Nations as a non-member state, the official said.

Noting that Ankara recognized Palestine as a state many years ago, the official said that according to the latest upgrade, Torunlar will be appointed to the “Palestinian State.”

Torunlar met with Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki in Ramallah and pledged to work to enhance cooperation between the two states.

Following the last U.N. General Assembly vote, Palestinians were granted non-member state status at the United Nations.

For years, Turkey had already been appointing diplomats with the title of ambassador to Jerusalem as consulate-generals in a symbolic gesture to Palestinians.

While Israel and Turkey enjoyed close diplomatic relations for years, ties have deteriorated since the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in 2010, when an Israeli raid on a humanitarian aid ship killed nine Turks.

Relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv have remained strained, with Turkey demanding an apology, compensation for the families of those killed, and the lifting of the Israeli blockade to Gaza.