Israel denies getting request from Turkey to exchange ambassadors

Israel denies getting request from Turkey to exchange ambassadors

After establishing ties in 1949, Turkey and Israel were allies for decades. But those relations have frayed in recent years.

Turkey has not requested that Israel agree to an exchange of ambassadors again, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

An anonymous senior Turkish official told Israel Hayom that Turkey told Israel this week it would be ready to send an ambassador to Tel Aviv if an Israeli envoy is sent to Ankara, yet the Foreign Ministry said it had not heard from any Turkish officials on the matter.

The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment on the matter.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is “in talks with Turkey” about natural gas in the Mediterranean Sea, a point of contention between Greece and Cyprus, with which Israel has partnered on the matter, and Turkey. The PMO declined to further elaborate on his comments.

Ties between Israel and Turkey have been tense over the past decade, with Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party, AKP, frequently comparing Israel to Nazi Germany and condemning Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank and treatment of the Palestinians, despite its own illegal occupation of northern Cyprus, northern Syria and persecution of the Kurds.

Turkey also continues to harbor Hamas terrorists, a senior diplomatic source pointed out late last year, after Erdogan made public overtures towards Israel.

Erdogan “has a system” by which he tries to bolster economic ties between Israel and Turkey while supporting Islamist extremists who attack Israel, the source said.

“He can’t have it both ways,” the diplomatic source said. “You can’t strengthen relations with Israel and be the place in which Hamas operatives feel most comfortable.”

Erdogan said in December that Turkey “would have liked to bring our ties [with Israel] to a better point.”

“If there were no issues at the top level [in Israel], our ties could have been very different,” Erdogan said, apparently blaming Netanyahu for the strained relations between the countries.

Israel’s “Palestine policy is our red line… [Israel’s] merciless acts are unacceptable,” he said.

After establishing ties in 1949, Turkey and Israel were allies for decades. But those relations have frayed in recent years.

Turkey has recalled its own ambassador to Israel and expelled Israeli ambassadors several times over seven decades of relations between the countries, the most recent being in 2018, after the US recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In recent months, Turkey criticized the Abraham Accords, which established diplomatic relations between Israel and four Arab countries.

Turkey has also raised tensions with Cyprus and Greece, claiming large swaths of the Mediterranean as its own and sending ships to areas where EU countries conduct gas exploration.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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