Israel approves civil aviation agreement with Turkey

The Israeli government on Monday announced an approval of an aviation agreement with Turkey, state-run TRT network reported, in the latest development amid thawing relations between the countries.

Israeli airliners will be able to land and take off from Istanbul and other destinations in Turkey, under the agreement, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Twitter.

The deal will be of benefit to “Israeli passengers and Israeli aviation," Yair said.

Turkey and Israel in recent months have been working to improve relations. Diplomatic ties between Turkey and Israel have been strained for a decade due to Turkish support for Hamas, its criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and differences over energy policy in the eastern Mediterranean.

Yair on Monday hailed the deal as "an important strategic move for stability and prosperity in the region, which will be a significant contribution to the advancement of relations between the two countries.” 

“The next step is appointing ambassadors,” he added.

Last month, the two countries agreed to resume diplomatic relations by appointing ambassadors.

Bilateral ties between Turkey and Israel fell into crisis in 2010 after Israeli soldiers raided a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla, killing ten pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara. 

Turkey’s close ties with the militant Islamist group Hamas, designated as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the United States and the European Union, had been a key stumbling block to restoring diplomatic ties.

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