Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israel’s Acting Prime Minister Yair Lapid agreed in a telephone call last Wednesday to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries and restore their ambassadors. expressed.
The big question is whether normal relations between the two countries will last this time and whether Erdogan will refrain from making derogatory statements against the Israeli government in one of the continuing conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians.
In a statement, Yair Lapid described the restoration of relations with Turkey as “an important asset to the stability of the region, which holds great economic importance for Israeli citizens,” while Israeli President Isaac Herzog called described the renewal of diplomatic relations with Turkey as “an important development.”
A full normalization of relations could end 12 years of tensions between Ankara and Tel Aviv and Turkey-Israeli relations could once again become cordial, as they were in 2010 by Erdogan himself as a staunch defender of Palestinian and Arab prior to the decision to submit. reason.
However, it is noteworthy that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Kavusoglu, while announcing the resumption of relations between the two countries, went out of his way to assure the Palestinians that Turkey would “protect the rights of Palestine, Jerusalem and Gaza”. Will continue “emphasizing that messages from Ankara will be delivered directly to Tel Aviv at the ambassadorial level.”
According to several press reports, the resumption of diplomatic relations was made possible after the Turkish government expelled officials and members of the Hamas Islamic resistance movement that ruled Gaza and told them they were allowed to engage in military activities on Turkish soil. will not be given.
On 31 May 2010, nine Turkish activists were killed and several wounded by Israeli troops on board the Mavi Marmara ship, one of the six-vessel convoy “Freedom Flotilla”, carrying 10 tons of aid and more than 650 workers from 37 countries. Were. The flotilla attempted to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
The Israeli raid took place in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, about 130 km off the coast of Israel. Erdogan, who was Turkey’s prime minister at the time, described the raid as “state terrorism” and called for Israel to be punished for the “bloody genocide”.
Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Tel Aviv and expelled the Israeli ambassador to Ankara.
Erdogan, who later became President of Turkey, made offensive statements against Israel on several occasions, for example after an Israeli operation in Gaza, that “Israel keeps Hitler’s spirit alive”.
In December 2029, Erdogan accused the state of Israel of “openly and mercilessly killing innocent girls, fathers, mothers, elderly, children and youth on the streets of Palestine.”
At the intervention of US President Barack Obama in March 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Erdogan and “apologised for any errors that cost lives” and agreed to compensate the victims. The two countries agreed to normalize relations in June 2016.
Relations between the two countries gradually improved, but broke again in 2018, when the United States recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved its embassy to Jerusalem.
Angered by the embassy move and the deaths of 60 Palestinians and the wounding of another 1200 in clashes that broke out in May 2018, Ankara expelled the Israeli ambassador, prompting Israel to seek revenge.
Erdogan accused Israel of committing “genocide” and behaving like a “terrorist state”.
In response, Benjamin Netanyahu described Erdogan as one of Hamas’ biggest supporters and said he could not preach morality to Israel.
Erdogan called Israel “an apartheid state that has occupied the lands of defenseless people for more than 60 years” and added that “Netanyahu had the blood of Palestinians on his hands and did not want to cover up his crimes by attacking Turkey.” should.”
Diplomatic relations between the two countries remained frozen, but as the economic situation in Turkey deteriorated, Erdogan changed his foreign policy and sought to improve relations with former adversaries, rather than openly challenging his neighbors and other countries. decided. Therefore, he tried to improve his relations with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Israel.
In a sign of declining relations between Israel and Turkey, Israeli President Isaac Herzog paid a state visit to Turkey on March 9-10 at the invitation of President Erdogan.
Three months later the two countries worked together to thwart Iranian planned attacks against Israeli tourists in Turkey, in retaliation for a series of attacks by Israel against Iranian targets.