Israel and Turkey are holding backchannel talks in a bid to restore the all-but-severed diplomatic relations between the two nations, The Times of Israel reports.
After the violent protests on the Gaza border in May in which over 60 Palestinians, most of them members of Hamas and other groups, were killed, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan placed the blame for the deaths on Israel, calling it a “terrorist state” that commits “genocide.” Turkey recalled its ambassador and expelled Israel’s ambassador, Eitan Na’eh, and consul in Istanbul.
Israel responded at the time by expelling Turkey’s consul-general in Jerusalem and summoning the country’s deputy ambassador in Tel Aviv for a dressing down.
According to a report Monday, September 17 in the daily Yedioth Ahronoth, if the latest talks bear fruit, both governments expect to return their respective ambassadors after the Jewish holiday season, or roughly in early October, some five months after the spat — the latest in a series of diplomatic crisis spanning years.
Two private jets, one Israeli and one Turkish, left their respective countries for Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday morning, flying via Amman, the report said. The flights are believed to be connected to the ongoing talks, but neither government has confirmed their purpose.
Turkey already returned its economic attache to Israel in recent weeks.
While Ankara under Erdogan has positioned itself as a supporter of Hamas and other forces since coming to power in 2003, the two nations now find themselves sharing vital interests on several fronts, especially Syria.