Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu (right) and his Israeli counterpart, Yaïr Lapid (who became Prime Minister on July 1, 2022), in Ankara, June 23, 2022. NECATI SAVAS / AP Turkey assures that it is not abandoning the Palestinian cause for all that. Israel announced on Wednesday August 17 the full restoration of diplomatic relations with Ankara and the return of ambassadors to the two countries. “It was decided to raise the level of ties between the two countries to full diplomatic relations and to return ambassadors and consuls general to the two countries,” Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement. communicated. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu assured in the wake that Turkey “would not abandon the Palestinian cause” and would continue to “defend the rights of the Palestinians, of Jerusalem and of Gaza”. Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Between Israel and Turkey, a reconciliation in small steps The announcement, however, was not well received by Hamas. “Any normalization with the occupier [israélien] is a legitimization of his presence on our lands”, reacted the movement. “We expect all Arab, Muslim and friendly countries to isolate the occupier and put pressure on it in order to respond to the legitimate rights of the Palestinians,” Bassem Naïm, a senior member of the Palestinian movement, told Agence France-Presse. armed in Gaza. Twelve years of diplomatic coldness Bilateral relations between Israel and Ankara were strained in 2010 with the Mavi-Marmara affair, when Israeli forces launched a deadly assault on this Turkish ship trying to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip, Palestinian enclave under Israeli blockade. Following this event, Ankara took a series of measures: expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, suspension of bilateral military agreements, proceedings before the International Court of Justice to challenge the blockade of Gaza. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause, has often criticized Israeli policies towards the Palestinians. In May 2018, after the death of around fifty Palestinians killed by the Israeli army in Gaza, Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel and fired the Israeli ambassador. Israel retaliated by sending the Turkish consul general back to Jerusalem. Common strategic interests Despite the tensions, Israelis and Turks have maintained channels of discussion, sometimes secret, to lay the foundations for a normalization of their relations. The two countries had also opened a new era in their relations in recent months, marked in particular by the historic visit of the Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, to Ankara in March 2022. The head of Turkish diplomacy, Mevlüt Cavusoglu, had carried out at the at the end of May a visit to Jerusalem within the framework of this diplomatic thaw. Already in November 2021, Mr. Erdogan spoke on the phone with his Israeli counterpart and former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett – the first such talks since 2013 – on the occasion of the release and return to their country. of an Israeli tourist couple detained in Turkey for espionage. The announcement of the resumption of full relations also comes at a time when Turkey is facing high inflation and the collapse of its currency. In January 2022, Erdogan announced that his country was ready to cooperate with Israel on an eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline project, which he had once opposed. The issue of energy cooperation between the two countries, against the backdrop of discoveries of deposits in the eastern Mediterranean, has become more pressing as several European countries seek to reduce their dependence on Russian gas. The World with AFP
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