Turkey maintains diplomatic relations with Israel while continuing to protect the Palestinians

Their diplomatic relations were suspended for five years. Israel and Turkey announced on Wednesday August 17 the full restoration of their diplomatic relations and the return of the ambassadors of both countries. But Ankara immediately confirmed its desire “keep on protecting” the Palestinians.

Relations between Israel and Turkey have seen a warming in recent months after a year of separation caused by the Turkish ship “Mavi Marmara” incident. Last March, Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited Ankara, the first since 2007.

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The tensions go back more than a decade. In 2010, Israeli forces launched a deadly attack on a ship trying to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave under Israeli blockade and controlled by the Islamists of Hamas, which also has representatives. in Turkey. .

In May 2018, after nearly 50 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli army in Gaza, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel and expelled the Israeli ambassador. Israel retaliated by sending the Turkish consul general back to Jerusalem. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan then accused Israel “state terrorism”.

“Defending the rights of the Palestinians”

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid announced the return of the ambassadors and consul generals of the two countries after a “deciding to raise the level of relations to full diplomatic relations”.

“The restoration of relations with Turkey is an important asset for regional stability and very important economic news for the citizens of Israel”he welcomed in a press release.

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In Ankara, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu confirmed the restoration of full relations while stressing that Turkey will continue “to protect the rights of Palestinians”.

“Our messages are important [sur la question palestinienne] sent directly by ambassador”he said, announcing the upcoming appointment of an ambassador to Tel Aviv.

Links to Hamas

During a rare visit to Jerusalem at the end of May, Mevlüt Cavusoglu considered that the normalization of relations “has a positive impact on peaceful conflict resolution” Israeli-Palestinian. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, has previously criticized Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians. During his visit last March, Isaac Herzog was pleased to maintain relations, which “encourage greater economic relations, mutual tourism and friendship between the two peoples”.

“The Middle East is experiencing a change”

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who maintains close ties with Hamas, then indicated that his country was considering a rapprochement “progressive” with Israel. “We should not have the illusion that the relationship will return to what it was in the good old days of the 1990s”said Ephraim Inbar, director of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security. “As long as Erdogan is in power there will be some hostility from Turkey to Israel because of its Islamic relations. He will continue to support Hamas for example “he told AFP.

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“Resisting Iran”

“Turkey is an important Muslim country, which can balance Iran, so it is a strategic country” for Israel, said Ephraim Inbar.

In June, Israel called on Israeli nationals in Turkey to leave “as soon as possible” this country for fear of attacks from Iran, an enemy country of the Jewish state, before lowering the alert level. The announcement of the continuation of full relations also comes at a time when Turkey is facing high inflation and the collapse of its currency.

In January, Turkey’s president announced that his country was ready to cooperate with Israel on a gas pipeline project in the eastern Mediterranean, which he had previously opposed. The issue of energy cooperation between the two countries, against the backdrop of the discoveries of deposits in the eastern Mediterranean, has become more urgent as many European countries seek to reduce their dependence on Russian gas.

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