Turkey and Israel restore diplomatic relations 4 years after Trump sparked a crisis that eroded ties
- Israel and Turkey announced they're restoring full diplomatic relations.
- This came four years after they expelled their respective ambassadors.
Turkey and Israel on Wednesday announced they were restoring diplomatic relations and returning their ambassadors to Tel Aviv and Ankara.
After speaking with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in a tweet said that Israel and Turkey "have decided to restore full diplomatic ties between our nations, including returning ambassadors."
"This will contribute not only to deepening our bilateral ties, but to strengthening regional stability," Lapid added.
And Israeli President Isaac Herzog tweeted, "I commend the renewal of full diplomatic relations with Turkey—an important development that we've been leading for the past year, which will encourage greater economic relations, mutual tourism, and friendship between the Israeli and Turkish peoples."
"Good neighborly relations and the spirit of partnership in the Middle East are important for us all. Members of all faiths — Muslims, Jews, and Christians — can and must live together in peace," Herzog added.
—יאיר לפיד - Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) August 17, 2022
Ties between the two countries have been rocky over the past decade, and particularly since 2018 — when then-US President Donald Trump controversially moved the US embassy to Jerusalem. After 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces on the Gaza border that year amid protests over Trump moving the embassy, Israel and Turkey expelled their respective ambassadors. In moving the US embassy, Trump formally recognized Jerusalem — a city at the heart of tensions in the Middle East — as Israel's capital and went against decades of US policy.
Erdogan has been an outspoken critic of the Israeli government's treatment of Palestinians. In 2018, Erdogan decried Israel as "an apartheid state that has occupied a defenseless people's lands for 60+ yrs in violation of UN resolutions," and said then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had "the blood of Palestinians on his hands."
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday told reporters that restoring full relations with Israel did not mean Ankara was "giving up on the Palestinian cause," the Times of Israel reported.
"As we have always said, we will continue to defend the rights of Palestinians," the top Turkish diplomat said.
Cavusoglu also said that returning ambassadors to each country "is important to improving bilateral ties."
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