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Israel’s ambassador to Turkey presents credentials to Erdoğan

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Israel’s ambassador to Turkey, Irit Lillian, on Tuesday presented her letter of credence to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the foreign ministry said, marking a new era after four years with the position vacant, Agence France-Presse reported.

“A very emotional moment this afternoon as I presented my letter of credentials to the President …” Lillian, who had been serving as Israel’s charge d’affaires in Ankara, wrote on her Twitter account.

“Looking forward to many more positive developments in the bilateral relations …”

The ceremony at Erdoğan’s presidential complex in Ankara marks the latest step in warming ties between Israel and Turkey.

Bilateral relations began to fray in 2008 following an Israeli military operation in Gaza.

Relations then froze in 2010 after the death of 10 civilians following an Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara, part of a Turkish flotilla trying to breach a blockade by carrying aid into the Gaza enclave.

A brief reconciliation lasted from 2016 until 2018, when Turkey withdrew its ambassador and expelled Israel’s over the killing of Palestinians during a conflict with Gaza.

Following months of diplomatic warming, Israel and Turkey announced in August the full restoration of relations and the return of ambassadors to both countries.

Turkey, too, has appointed an ambassador to Israel. A presidential decree in November named Şakir Özkan Torunlar to the post, Turkish media reported at the time.

He is expected to present his credentials to Israeli President Isaac Herzog “soon,” according to the Israeli foreign ministry.

Despite past tensions between the two, Erdoğan last month congratulated Benjamin Netanyahu on his victory in the general election.

Netanyahu, whose second term in office ran from 2009 to 2021, was due to swear in his new government on Thursday.

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