Israeli official to visit Turkey on Feb 1 for political discussions

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The Israeli Foreign Ministry’s undersecretary will meet his Turkish counterpart next week for political consultations over the two countries’ normalization process, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hüseyin Müftüoğlu said Jan. 26.

The Israeli official will visit the Turkish capital on Feb. 1, a Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News. 

The two officials will draft a road map for a cooperation agenda as part of the normalization process. Turkish Tourism Minister Nabi Avcı will pay a visit to Israel for a tourism fair on Feb. 7-8 in the first high-profile visit to the country since the 2010 Mavi Marmara crisis, which caused a strain in bilateral relations that last six years.

The two countries will also step up cooperation on security issues, a Turkish official told the Daily News, adding that both countries needed to conduct consultations on regional security issues such as Syria. 

Turkey’s chief of General Staff, Gen. Hulusi Akar, met his Israeli counterpart’s deputy on Jan. 17 for the first time since the two countries normalized their ties.

Turkey-Israel relations came to breaking point after Israeli marines stormed the Mavi Marmara flotilla, which was aiming to break a naval blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip in May 2010, killing 10 Turkish activists on board. 

After six years of strained ties, Israel apologized for the Mavi Marmara raid, paying out $20 million to the bereaved and injured as part of the rapprochement deal signed between the two countries on June 28, 2016.

In December, the countries also exchanged ambassadors for the first time, with Eitan Na’eh taking up his post in Ankara for Israel and Kemal Ökem doing likewise for Turkey in Tel Aviv.

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