Istanbul/Jerusalem, Aug 17 Turkey and Israel, strategic allies since the mid-1990s and diplomatically estranged since 2018, announced today that they are normalizing their relations after years of tensions.
These are the most outstanding facts between both countries:
May 31.- The Israeli Army assaults the “Mavi Marmara” ship in international waters, which was part of the so-called “Freedom Flotilla” that sought to break the blockade on Gaza and bring humanitarian aid. In that boarding ten Turks were killed.
June 7.- Turkey announces its decision to suspend all current agreements with Israel, including extensive strategic and military cooperation, in force since 1996.
September 1.- A UN report concludes that the Israeli action was “excessive and disproportionate”, but assures that the naval blockade of Gaza applied by Israel is “legal and appropriate”.
September 2.- Turkey approves “sanctions” against Israel: reducing its diplomatic relations to a minimum, withdrawing its ambassador from Tel Aviv and suspending military relations between the two countries.
March 22.- Thanks to the mediation of the US president, Barack Obama, the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speak directly for the first time. Netanyahu regrets the consequences of the assault on the Flotilla. They both agree to restore relations.
February 3.- Israel offers Turkey 20 million dollars to compensate the families of those killed in the Flotilla.
July 18.- The Turkish authorities criticize the Israeli ground incursion into Gaza within the “Protective Edge” operation, whose characteristics they describe as “genocide”. On the same day, Israel reduces its diplomatic representation in Turkey to the “essential minimum”.
December 17.- In secret talks in Switzerland, Israel and Turkey agree on a series of measures to revive their relations after five years of estrangement. In that same period, and despite the political crisis, trade relations between the two countries reached unprecedented levels.
June 27.- Turkey and Israel announce a definitive agreement to recover full diplomatic relations. The pact seals the reconciliation between the two countries after six years of tensions. The next day, both States sign it.
September 30th. Israel announces the payment of 20 million dollars to Turkey as compensation to the families of the Turks killed in the assault on the flotilla of activists. In addition, it offers Turkey some facility to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza.
November 15. Israel appoints its new ambassador to Turkey, Eitan Nae. The next day, Turkey names its official representative in Israel, Kemal Okem.
6th of December. Turkey condemns the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
may 14. Turkey calls its ambassadors in Washington and Tel Aviv for consultations in Ankara, protesting the death of Palestinians in demonstrations against the transfer of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
15 th of May. The Government of Turkey advises the Israeli ambassador, Eitan Nae, to return to his country. Diplomatic sources told Efe that it was not a formal expulsion. The level of diplomatic relations remains at the level of a charge d’affaires.
December 23th. Erdogan accuses Netanyahu of using “state terrorism” against Palestinians.
March 25th. Turkey condemns the US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.
August 13. Israel and the United Arab Emirates agree to establish diplomatic ties, which will be criticized by Turkey.
May 10. The Turkish Parliament issues a statement calling for an end to “Israel’s aggressive actions” to “usurp the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people”.
July 13. The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expressed to the Head of the State of Israel, Isaak Herzog, his conviction that there is a high potential for cooperation between the two countries. It is the first contact at the highest level between the two nations after the tensions of recent years.
March 9. Israeli President Isaac Herzog arrives in Turkey for a historic visit. It is the first by an Israeli president since 2007 and marks a turning point in relations between the two countries.
25 of May. Israel and Turkey continue their thaw with a meeting of foreign ministers in Jerusalem.
17 of August. Both States decide to fully restore their diplomatic relations after a rapprochement process that ends years of tense relations. EFE