Turkish FM visits Palestine, Israel

Turkish FM visits Palestine, Israel

Turkish FM visits Palestine, Israel

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has embarked on a visit to Palestine and Israel on May 24 and will hold talks on the normalization of bilateral ties with the Israeli government in a first senior-level visit in 15 years.

“We will go to Israel on May 25. We will assess [the process] with the [Israeli] foreign minister. Then we will make the decision [on appointing ambassadors],” Çavuşoğlu told reporters on his return from a week-long tour to Latin America in early May.

The minister held discussions in Palestine on May 24 and then traveled to Tel Aviv for talks with Israeli officials.

Relations between former allies began to fray following an Israeli military operation in Gaza in 2008. Ties then froze following the death of 10 civilians following an Israeli raid on the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship, part of a flotilla trying to breach a blockade carrying aid into Gaza in 2010.

A 2016 reconciliation agreement that saw the return of ambassadors all but collapsed in 2018 in the wake of Gaza border clashes that killed dozens of Palestinians.

Turkey and Israel had lowered the level of diplomatic representation to chargé d’affaires in 2018 after Turkey protested the latter’s killing of scores of civilian Palestinians in a rally against the United States’ decision to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog paid a visit to Turkey in early March, in a bid to break the ice between the two nations having strained relations.

The visit came amid efforts of the two countries to launch a new process for reconciling the ties. The process includes exchanging ambassadors and increasing the level of diplomatic representation and exploring potential cooperation areas, especially in the field of economy, trade and mutual investments and energy.