Print Print

Israeli envoy assumes duties in Türkiye as two countries normalise ties


Irit Lillian, whose appointment was announced in September, had served as Tel Aviv's charge d'affaires in Ankara for the past two years.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has received the credentials of Israel's new ambassador to Türkiye, as the two countries normalise ties after four years of strain.

At the presidential complex in the capital Ankara on Tuesday, Erdogan welcomed Israeli Ambassador Irit Lillian, marking the first appointment by Tel Aviv since 2018.

Senior diplomat Lillian, whose appointment was announced on September 19, had served as Israel's charge d'affaires in Ankara for the past two years.

In August, Türkiye and Israel agreed to restore diplomatic ties and reappoint ambassadors and consuls general after a four-year hiatus.

Thawing ties

The announcement comes amid a thaw in long-strained ties between Türkiye and Israel. 

Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited Ankara this year in the first visit to Türkiye by an Israeli leader since 2008.

Relations between Israel and Türkiye have been strained for more than a decade, with Ankara having expelled Israel's ambassador following a 2010 Israeli raid on an aid ship to Gaza, which killed ten Turkish citizens.

Diplomatic relations were restored in 2016, but two years later Türkiye recalled its diplomats from Israel and expelled Israeli envoys when Israeli forces killed a number of Palestinians who had taken part in protests in Gaza.

The two countries mutually appointed ambassadors this year.

After Israeli Prime Minister-designate, Benjamin Netanyahu won elections last month, he and Erdogan agreed to "work together to create a new era in relations" on a basis of respect for mutual interests.