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Israel appoints new envoy to Turkiye, credentials presented to the Turkish President

JERUSALEM: Israel approved the appointment of Irit Lillian as a new ambassador to Turkiye on Tuesday. The envoy presented her credentials to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as shared by the foreign ministry. The appointment of ambassador marks the beginning of new era between the two countries. Its been four years since the position was unstaffed.

Yair Lapid, the Israeli prime minister confirms the news via tweet. He said, “this is another important step in repairing relations with Turkiye that we have been working on for the past year.”

Lillian, who had been earlier serving as Israel’s charge d’affairs in Ankara expressed in a tweet that its “A very emotional moment this afternoon as I presented my letter of credentials to the President.” She added “Looking forward to many more positive developments in the bilateral relations”.

Israel-Turkiye relations have been cut several times during the past decade due to Israel’s repeated aggression against the Palestinians and Islamic holy sites in occupied Jerusalem. Following an Israeli military operation in Gaza in 2008, the bilateral relations began to fray.

The relations then froze in 2010 when the Israeli raid on the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship resulted in the deaths of 10 civilians. The ship was part of a flotilla carrying aid into the Gaza enclave.

A brief reconciliation lasted from 2016 until 2018. But the two countries expelled each other’s ambassador in 2018 over the killing of sixty Palestinians. The Israeli forces killed the Palestinians during the protest. The protest broke at the eastern Gaza fence against the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem.

However, relations have warmed in recent months. In August, Turkiye and Israel agreed to restore full diplomatic ties and reappoint ambassadors and consul generals. Both Erdogan and Lapid met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last month in New York. It was their first face-to-face talks at that level since 2008.

Zahra Sikandar
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