Turkey may renew ties with Israel

Embassies in Turkey and Israel are set to reopen for the first time since official diplomatic ties were severed between the two countries.

According to Turkish media reports, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan may also be planning to visit the country.

Turkey’s Zaman newspaper reported that a possible visit has been discussed by Israeli and Turkish intelligence chiefs.

However, the Israeli Prime Minister’s office has denied the accuracy of the Turkish report.

Turkey broke off relations following the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in 2010, when Israeli navy seals boarded a Turkish ship on its way to Gaza and killed members of a Turkish Islamist group.

In 2011, Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Israel and expelled Israel’s chief diplomat from the country’s capital, Ankara.

In March 2013, under pressure from President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to apologise to Mr Erdogan for the loss of life on board the Mavi Mamara . In return, there was supposed to be a return to diplomatic normalisation between the two states, but so far it has not occurred.

A possible thaw in relations has been rejected by some analysts who claim that a strong showing for Mr Erdogan 's Justice and Development party in Sunday's local elections may embolden him to take a harsher line against the Jewish state.

Last updated: 5:31pm, March 27 2014