Turkey is moving to restore full relations with Israel
Seeking to make up for drastically worsening ties with neighbors Iran and Russia as well as bolstering its energy security, Turkey is moving to restore full relations with Israel after falling out more than five years ago.
NATO member Turkey was for years seen as the main Muslim ally of the Jewish state, but ambassadors were withdrawn following the deadly storming by Israeli commandos in 2010 of a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza.
But in a surprise announcement, Israeli officials said Thursday that initial understandings had been agreed with Turkey at secret talks in Switzerland on normalizing ties.
Early this month, Turkey’s Jewish community was able to observe the Hanukkah festival in a public space in central Istanbul – for the first time in modern Turkey’s history.
This gesture by the Turkish authorities followed a statement from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said he thought he could “fix ties” with Israel.
Turkish officials said no agreement on reconciliation had yet been reached but confirmed for the first time that the discussions were making progress.