Turkey and Israel hold secret talks to rekindle relations - Israeli news

Turkey and Israel are holding secret talks to normalise their relations four months after the killing of 61 Palestinians and Turkey’s subsequent expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, Israeli news site Ynet News reported on Monday.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other top figures from the Turkish government condemned Israel after its soldiers opened fire on Palestinians attempting to cross the boundaries closing off the Gaza Strip on May 14.

The Turkish president called for three days of mourning for the 61 killed in the ensuing massacre, and expelled ambassador Eitan Naeh, subjecting the Israeli envoy to special security checks in front of Turkish media gathered at the airport.

However, Erdoğan has had reportedly had a change of heart, with common interests in the Syrian conflict making a rapprochement more attractive, particularly given Turkey’s current economic problems and diplomatic crisis with its NATO ally the United States.

Four months of chill is soon to be lifted, according to information obtained by Ynet’s Hebrew-language version, Yedioth Ahronoth, which reported that Turkish and Israeli officials had secretly discussed normalising relations.

Contact about economic cooperation has already been made by a Turkish economic attache posted to Israel, the first to be sent in years, Ynet reported.

The news site also reported Turkish and Israeli government planes taking off simultaneously at 9 a.m. from Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv on Sunday, and following the same flight path to Abu Dhabi with a midway stop in Oman. The purpose of the flights is unknown.

“According to Israeli and Turkish officials, if there will not be another last-minute crisis, the two countries are expected to return their respective ambassadors after the Jewish holidays (later this month),” Ynet reported.


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