Netanyahu and Erdogan.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Foreign Ministry director-general Yuval Rotem flew to Ankara on Tuesday for the first high-level political consultations between the two countries in six years.
The discussions, made possible as the result of the reconciliation agreement that culminated in December with an exchange of ambassadors, will survey all the issues between the two countries – economic, cultural and security – with an eye at charting a course for moving forward.
The Turkish delegation to the talks will be led by Rotem’s counterpart in the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Umit Yalcin.
In addition to the consultations with the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Rotem – who will be in Turkey until Thursday – will also meet senior Turkish government officials, Israeli embassy and consular representatives, the governor of Istanbul and members of Istanbul’s Jewish community.
A Foreign Ministry statement said that this dialogue sends a positive message from both sides of a commitment to deepening the relationship between the two countries.
The discussions, coming after six years of challenges and boycotts, will enable a discussion on the deep changes that have happened in the interim in the region, with the goal of creating a basis for greater regional stability, the statement read.
Israeli-Turkish ties nosedived in May 2010, following the Mavi Marmara incident in which Israel Navy commandos killed nine Turks trying to break the blockade of Gaza. Turkey immediately recalled its ambassador, and expelled Israel’s a year later. The two countries finally reached a reconciliation agreement last summer.
This dialogue followed by two weeks a meeting in Brussels between Turkey’s Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan on the sidelines of a meeting of NATO leaders. That was the first high-level meeting between senior security officials from the two countries since the Mavi Marmara incident.