Israel appoints ambassador to Turkey following 6-year diplomatic freeze


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel has appointed an ambassador to Turkey as part of the reconciliation agreement signed over the summer between the two countries restoring diplomatic ties following a six-year freeze.

The Foreign Ministry tapped Eitan Naeh, now the deputy ambassador to Britain, as the envoy to Turkey, which named its new ambassador to Israel last month. Naeh previously served in Turkey in 1993 as second secretary and then first secretary.

Relations between Israel and Turkey broke down in the aftermath of the Mavi Marmara incident in May 2010, when Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish citizens in clashes on a boat attempting to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. Turkey recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv in September 2011 and expelled the Israeli envoy.

Under the reconciliation agreement, Turkey was to drop legal claims against the Israeli military and individual officers and soldiers who were part of the Mavi Marmara raid. Turkey’s Justice Ministry has ordered a court in Ankara to close all lawsuits against Israeli soldiers who raided the Marmara, though the court has not yet officially done so, according to Haaretz.

Last month, Israel paid $20 million in compensation to the families of the Mavi Marmara victims. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had previously apologized for the deaths, which had been another Turkish condition for the resumption of diplomatic ties.

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