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Turkey names former Jerusalem consul general as new ambassador to Israel

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Turkey appointed Şakir Özkan Torunlar as its new ambassador to Israel late on Wednesday following a mutual decision taken last month to restore full diplomatic ties, Reuters reported, citing two Turkish foreign ministry officials.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu briefed Torunlar on Wednesday night as part of the ministry’s new appointments abroad, the officials told Reuters.

A career diplomat with decades of experience, Torunlar was Turkish consul general in Jerusalem from 2010 to 2013.

Israel has already named Irit Lillian as its next ambassador to Turkey.

Relations between Turkey and Israel have been rocky since 2011, when Ankara expelled Israel’s ambassador following a 2010 Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara aid ship to Gaza, which killed nine Turkish citizens.

The rift healed when full diplomatic relations were restored in 2016 and the two countries exchanged ambassadors.

Tensions escalated again in 2018 when Israeli forces killed dozens of Palestinians who had taken part in the “March of Return” protests in the Gaza Strip.

Turkey recalled all diplomats and ordered the Israeli envoy to leave the country.

The latest developments come five months after Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited Ankara as part of the first visit to Turkey by an Israeli leader since 2008.

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