Turkey appoints new ambassador to Israel, first in 4 years

Turkey on Thursday appointed a new ambassador to Israel, state-run A Haber network reported, in the latest step toward normalizing ties between the two countries.

Şakir Özkan Torunlar, a senior diplomat who had served as Turkey's consul general in Jerusalem from 2010-2013, has been appointed to the post, the network said.

The move arrives weeks after Israel appointed its first ambassador to Turkey since 2018 as the two countries work to mend ties following a decade of tensions.

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, among other issues.

The two regional powers had expelled ambassadors in 2018 and in August announced that they would reinstate full diplomatic relations and reappoint ambassadors after a gradual months-long period of improvement in relations.

Torunlar’s appointment arrived five months after Israel’s President Isaac Herzog visited Ankara, marking the first visit to Turkey by an Israeli leader since 2008. 

Last month, Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, the United States.

This block is broken or missing. You may be missing content or you might need to enable the original module.