Netanyahu and Erdogan.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The full normalization of Israeli-Turkish ties that will be marked when the countries exchange ambassadors was delayed yet again on Tuesday.
A Foreign Ministry source said the ministry’s appointment committee, which was to meet on Thursday to name Israel’s nominee for this sensitive position, was postponed.
The source said the postponement is connected to the sudden resignation earlier this month of Dore Gold as the ministry’s director- general and the appointment of Yuval Rotem in his stead.
Turkey and Israel are expected to name their ambassadors on the same day, and this was originally to have been done already in July.
The Foreign Ministry’s director-general heads the ministry’s appointment committee.
Rotem still needs the final approval from the government before formally taking over as director-general, and the appointments committee will not meet until that time.
The fact that the appointments committee was to decide on the matter seemed an indication that the next ambassador would come from the ranks of the Foreign Ministry, and not be an outside political appointment.
The delay comes as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is in Turkey for a three-day visit. He met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday. Erdogan is a key supporter of Hamas, the arch rivals of Abbas’s Fatah faction.
The Hurriyet Daily News drew a connection on Tuesday between Abbas’s visit and the scheduled appointment of the ambassadors, writing that “Abbas’s visit comes as Turkey and Israel are preparing to appoint ambassadors to each other’s capitals, in a final step in the reconciliation of bilateral ties.”
Since the reconciliation agreement was announced in June, Erdogan has sought to reassure the Palestinians on a number of occasions that a normalization of ties with Israel will not come at their expense, and that in fact it will benefit Gaza.