For the first time in four years, Israel will have an ambassador in Turkey, the latest move in improving relations between the two nations following a years-long schism. Irit Lillian, a senior diplomat who has been in charge of the Israeli embassy in Ankara for the past two years, will be the ambassador, Israel’s foreign ministry said on Monday.
In response to Israel’s death of hundreds of Palestinians during protests along the Gaza border in 2018, Turkey removed its ambassador from Israel and ordered Israel’s envoy to depart. Once-warm ties began to deteriorate with the election of Recep Tayyip Erdogan as prime minister in 2003, an outspoken opponent of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. In 2009, the now-Turkish president harshly chastised ex-Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres on stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Tensions reached a climax in 2010 when Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish ship that had broken through an Israeli embargo to bring humanitarian goods to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Ten Turkish activists were assassinated.
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