After a two-year absence, Turkey has appointed a new ambassador to Israel. Ankara withdrew its envoy in May 2018 over deadly attacks against Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip who were protesting US President Donald Trump’s decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to Al Jazeera report.
Turkey has appointed a new ambassador named Ufuk Ulutas. His appointment is part of an attempt to improve ties with incoming President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, a report by Al Monitor quoting well-placed sources revealed last week. He was described as very polished, very clever and very pro-Palestinian by sources quoted in the report. Ufuk Ulutas studied Hebrew and Middle Eastern politics in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is also an expert on Israel’s regional rival, Iran, but is not a career diplomat.
It is to be mentioned here that the diplomatic ties has been broked up between the two countries in 2010 by Turkey after 10 pro-Palestinian Turkish activists were killed by Israeli commandos who boarded a Turkish-owned flotilla trying to deliver aid and break Israel’s years-long maritime blockade of Gaza.
Turkey has restored ties in 2016, but relations soured again in 2018 in the aftermath of the US embassy move.
However, it remains to be seen whether Ankara will establish full diplomatic ties with Israel.
Turkish President Erdogan and Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu have often exchanged angry remarks, with a war of words reaching a boiling point about two years ago.
Erdogan called Netanyahu a “terrorist” at that time in response to Netanyahu’s comments rejecting Ankara’s moral lessons over the Israeli army’s killing of Palestinian protesters in Gaza and labelling Erdogan as someone who bombs Kurdish villagers.