Turkiye appoints new envoy to Israel after four-year gap

ANKARA (AFP): Turkiye has appointed an ambassador to Israel after a gap of four years in the latest step toward normalizing ties with the Jewish state.

Sakir Ozkan Torunlar, a veteran diplomat who had served as Turkiye’s consul general in Jerusalem between 2010 and 2014, was named to the post in a presidential decree late Friday, Turkish media reported.

Ankara withdrew its ambassador to Israel in May 2018 and threw out the Israeli envoy over the Israeli army’s killing of dozens of Palestinians.

Israel riposted by sending back the Turkish consul in Jerusalem.

Ties between the two soured after Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Israel’s policy toward Palestinians under the previous governments of its new Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

But Erdogan sent a congratulatory letter to Netanyahu after his victory in elections held earlier this month.