After Years Of Frayed Ties, Israel Appoints Ambassador To Turkey

Israel's new Ambassador to Turkey Irit Lillian (Foreign Ministry)

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Israel on Monday announced the appointment of a new ambassador to Turkey — the latest sign of warming relations between the two countries following more than a decade-long rift.

Irit Lillian, a senior diplomat who has been in charge of the Israeli Embassy in Ankara for the last two years, will serve as the ambassador, Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced.

She is the first person to hold the post since 2018, when Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Israel and ousted Israel’s ambassador after IDF soldiers opened fire on Hamas operatives during a violent protest on the Israel-Gaza border. Relations first frayed in 2010 after Israeli commandos were violently attacked by Turkish terrorists on the Mavi Marmara ship, part of a flotilla that breached Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also made virulent statements against Israel, including calling Israel a “terrorist state” and Israelis “child killing bloodsuckers” as well as providing a safe haven for Hamas members, including those actively involved in financing and planning terror operations against Israel. He even granted citizenship to 12 Hamas terrorists, one of whom has been designated by the US as a terrorist and has a $5 million bounty on his head.

In recent months, Erdogan made a decision to repair ties with a number of countries, including Israel, and under pressure from Jerusalem, took steps to expel members of Hamas’s military wing from the country. President Isaac Herzog visited Turkey in March and last month, the two countries announced they plan on restoring full diplomatic ties.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem & AP)