New Israeli envoy arrives in Turkey after rapprochement

Eitan Naeh dispatched as Israel's first ambassador to Ankara in six years after row over Gaza flotilla raid ended.

    Naeh is due to present his letter of credence to Turkish President Erdogan in the next few days [Anadolu Agency]
    Naeh is due to present his letter of credence to Turkish President Erdogan in the next few days [Anadolu Agency]

    Israel's new ambassador to Turkey has arrived in the capital Ankara, to serve as the first official envoy since 2010 as the two countries advance with their rapprochement since a six-year spat put diplomatic relations on ice.

    Inside Story - What's behind the new deal between Turkey and Israel?

    Eitan Naeh, upon his arrival at the Esenboga Airport on Thursday, said that the two countries "have a history of helping each other in times of need," referring to Turkey's help while handling wildfires in Israel last week.  

    Naeh is due to present his letter of credence to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the next few days.

    Naeh, who had been serving as deputy head of mission at the Israeli embassy in London, was chosen as ambassador earlier this month by a government committee.

    A career diplomat, he previously worked at the embassy in Ankara from 1993 to 1997.

    Mavi Marmara raid

    Naeh is the country's first envoy since Israeli commandos in 2010 raided Mavi Marmara, a Gaza-bound flotilla of activists aiming to break the siege on the Gaza Strip.

    After the raid, which killed 10 Turkish activists, relations between the two countries plunged to an all-time low, with both pulling their envoys out from the respective capitals.

    However, the bitter rift came to an end in June after long-running secret talks in third countries with Israel offering $20m in compensation, an apology over the raid and permission for Turkish aid to reach Gaza.

    Last week firefighting planes from Turkey were sent to Israel after wildfires raged.

    OPINION: What the Israeli-Turkish reconciliation says about Gaza

    In a video shared on the embassy's official Facebook page, Naeh said: "I am very happy to be back in Turkey as ambassador. We have a lot of work to do ... I am looking forward to starting the work here, officially."

    The process to normalise relations was strongly supported by the US, which had long wanted to see NATO ally Turkey resume its once-close relationship with Israel.

    Turkey this month appointed Prime Minister Binali Yildirim's foreign affairs adviser Kemal Okem as its ambassador to Israel. He is expected to move to Israel in the next few days.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News and Agencies


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