Turkey and Israel said on Wednesday that they will re-appoint their respective ambassadors, more than four years after they were called back, marking another milestone in relations after months of steady improvement.
In 2018, the two regional powers removed their ambassadors in response to Israeli forces killing 60 Palestinians during protests on the Gaza border over the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem.
However, they have been seeking to repair long-strained ties, with energy emerging as a significant area for future collaboration.
The office of Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Wednesday that the two countries have resolved to restore full diplomatic relations.
“It was decided to once again upgrade the level of the relations between the two countries to that of full diplomatic ties and to return ambassadors and consuls general,” Lapid’s office said in a statement following a call between the prime minister and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
“Upgrading relations will contribute to deepening ties between the two peoples, expanding economic, trade, and cultural ties, and strengthening regional stability,” the statement continued.
After more than a decade of hostility, Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited Turkey in March, followed by visits by both foreign ministries.
The appointment of ambassadors, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, is one step toward normalizing relations.
“Such a positive step came from Israel as a result of these efforts, and as Turkey, we also decided to appoint an ambassador to Israel, to Tel Aviv,” Cavusoglu said at a news conference in Ankara, adding that Turkey was picking someone.
The move, which comes as Israel seeks to strengthen ties with regional nations, was reached two years after the so-called Abraham Accords, which saw relations between Israel, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Morocco normalized.
Turkey also launched a charm effort in 2020 to mend relations with estranged adversaries, reaching out to Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Efforts with Cairo have generated little headway thus far, but authorities have stated that normalization efforts with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi are proceeding nicely.