Israel and Turkey to restore full diplomatic ties after three years of tensions

Turkey’s president called Israel ‘child-murdering' in 2018, and provided support to Hamas


Israeli President Isaac Herzog (L) and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan shake hands during a press conference in Ankara, on March 9, 2022. (Photo by AFP) (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel and Turkey will restore full diplomatic ties and exchange ambassadors after several years of tensions, Israel’s prime minister has announced. 

The decision comes after a phone conversation between Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with the matter “concluded” on Tuesday evening in a phone call between Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz and Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal. 

In a statement on Wednesday, Prime Minister Lapid said: "The resumption of relations with Türkiye is an important asset for regional stability and very important economic news for the citizens of Israel. 

“We will continue to strengthen Israel's standing in the world,” he added.

In May 2018, after the United States recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and rioting broke out, Erdogan accused Israel of carrying out a "genocide" and behaving like a "terrorist state".

The following day, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador and withdrew its ambassador in Tel Aviv for consultations. In response, Israel expelled Turkey's consul in Jerusalem. 

Then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Erdogan of killing Kurdish civilians. 

In 2020 following the signing of the Abraham Accords, Ankara accused Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates of of supporting Israel against Palestinians, and then hosted two Hamas leaders, which triggered furious condemnation from Israel and the United States. 

Turkey has provided assistance to Hamas, with top officials residing in Istanbul, and it has also been alleged that a number of terror incidents were planned there. 

However, relations have thawed in the last two years, which President Erdogan expressing interest in improving ties and striking a remarkably different tone. 

A rapprochement process has been underway since May 2020, and in March 2022, Israel’s President Herzog visited Erdogan in Turkey.

The office of Israel’s prime minister said in its statement on Wednesday that the restoration of diplomatic ties “is a continuation of the positive direction in the development of relations over the past year, since President Herzog’s diplomatic visit to Ankara, and the reciprocal visits of the foreign ministers to Jerusalem and Ankara.” 

It added: “Upgrading relations will contribute to deepening ties between the two peoples, expanding economic, trade, and cultural ties, and strengthening regional stability.” 

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