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Israeli ambassador arrives in Turkey as countries mend relations

This article was published on 02 December 2016 at 04:06 AM. It has 23 views so far.

Tensions between the two countries began to ease in June after Israel offered $20 million in compensation and an apology for the 2010 raid of the Gaza-bound ship Mavi Marmara.

Israel’s new ambassador to Turkey arrived in the country’s capital Ankara on Thursday, an Israeli embassy official said, to serve as the country’s official envoy after a six-year gap.

Israel and Turkey pulled their envoys from each others’ capitals after Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara, a Gaza-bound aid ship, in 2010. The ship was headed to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. Ten Turkish activists died in the raid.

“I am very happy to be back in Turkey as ambassador. We have a lot of work to do… I am looking forward to starting the work here, officially,” said Naeh, in a video shared by the embassy’s official Facebook account.

Naeh is due to present his letter of credence to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the next few days. He had been serving as deputy head of mission at the Israeli embassy in London before his latest assignment and had previously worked at the embassy in Ankara from 1993 to 1997.

Tensions between the two countries began to ease in June after Israel offered $20 million in compensation, an apology for the raid, and permission for Turkish aid to reach Gaza.

Thanking Ankara for its support and a warm welcome, Naeh told reporters at the airport, “We have a history of helping each other in times of need.”

The process to normalise relations was strongly supported by the United States, which wanted to see NATO ally Turkey resume its once-close relationship with Israel.

Turkey this month appointed Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s foreign affairs advisor Kemal Okem as its ambassador to Israel.