Israel and Turkey flags.
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
Mekin Mustafa Kemal Okem, Turkey’s ambassador-designate to Israel, will be the fourth of five ambassadors who are scheduled to present their credentials to President Reuven Rivlin on Monday, almost exactly seven years after his predecessor Ahmet Oguz Celikkol presented his credentials to then-president Shimon Peres.
Celikkol was recalled in April 2010 after having been publicly insulted by Danny Ayalon, who was then deputy foreign minister.
In the interim, relations between Ankara and Jerusalem soured considerably, and until Okem’s appointment, Turkey’s interests in Israel were handled by a chargé d’affaires.
Ordinarily, the media show little interest in presentation of credentials ceremonies, but in the case of Okem, such a large turnout was anticipated that coverage has been limited to a Foreign Press Association pool in addition to coverage by the Government Press Office.
Usually, the only times when there is major media interest in the presentation of credentials is when the ambassador in question is from the United States, Egypt or Jordan. In bygone years there was also such interest in India, China and Russia, but that has waned with familiarity and the passing of time.
Eitan Na’eh, Israel’s ambassador to Turkey, last week presented his credentials to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, thus signifying a new era in the relationship between the two countries.