Israel and Turkey to sign bilateral aviation agreement: Ministry

Jul 7, 2022: According to a report by Reuters, Israel and Turkey will expand bilateral airline traffic under a new aviation deal to be signed on Thursday, their first since 1951, Israel’s Transportation Ministry said.

“The agreement is expected to result in the resumption of flights by Israeli companies to a variety of destinations in Turkey, alongside flights by Turkish companies to Israel,” it said in a statement.

In June this year Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid paid a visit Turkey as the two countries enter a new phase in bilateral relations after a decade of animosity.

The trip followed Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s visit to Israel earlier in the year which marked the first visit at the foreign minister level in 15 years.

In May this year, during a visit to Israel, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey and Israel demonstrated a common will to improve relations in every field. “Even though there were difficult days, we decided to continue our relations,” Çavuşoğlu said.

His visit was the first trip to Israel by a Turkish foreign minister in nearly 15 years. Earlier, in March, President Isaac Herzog had visited Ankara and met with Erdoğan.

According to the Daily Sabah, Turkey is a popular tourist destination for Israelis. The two countries have been mending their ties after more than a decade of strained relations.

Israel was a long-time regional ally of Turkey before a 2010 commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla left 10 Turkish activists dead. In 1996 Israel and Turkey signed a “strategic partnership,” under which their air forces can train in each other’s air space.

Relations took a downturn when Erdoğan, who was the prime minister at that time, walked out of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2009, in protest at Israel’s massive offensive in Gaza against Palestinians. The 22-day operation cost the lives of 1,440 Palestinians and 13 Israelis.

A full-blown crisis erupted in May 2010, when Israeli commandos staged a botched predawn raid on the Mavi Marmara ship, part of a flotilla trying to ferry aid to the Gaza Strip in defiance of a naval blockade. Ankara recalled its ambassador and scaled-down economic and defense ties with Israel.

Turkey has recently been working to improve relations with several countries in the region as part of a normalization process launched in 2020.

Israel and Turkey formalized the normalization process in June 2016 after six years of estrangement.

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