Ambassador Celikkol (Archives)
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Turkish ambassador: Developments in Ankara-J'lem ties imminent
In apparent sign of thaw in relations, members of Knesset's Israel-Turkey Friendship Organization attend luncheon at Celikkol's Herzliya home. 'Turkey a bridge between Israel, Islamic nations,' Deputy Minister Kara says during event

"Developments in Turkish-Israeli relations are expected in the coming weeks," Turkey's Ambassador to Israel Ahmet Oguz Celikkol told Knesset members on Friday.


Celikkol spoke to members of the Knesset's Israel-Turkey Friendship Organization during a luncheon held at his Herzliya home.


Ayoob Kara, deputy minister of the development of the Negev and Galilee, said during the event, "It is important that we reestablish strong relations with Turkey, which has proven its friendship in the past. Turkey has a very important role in the Middle East, and we need its support.


"I believe that in time the ties between our nations will once again be warm and strong," said the Likud member.


Kadmia MK Robert Tiviaev told those on hand that Turkey serves as a bridge between Israel and the Islamic countries. "I hope this lunch is only the first step in improving relations between Israel and Turkey," he said.


MKs Avi Dichter (Kadima), Rachel Adatto (Kadima), Yoel Hasson (Kadima), Gideon Ezra (Kadima), Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) and Orit Zuaretz (Kadima) also attended the event.


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's harsh criticism of Israel's offensive in Gaza a little over a year ago sparked a diplomatic row between the countries, at the height of which Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon reprimanded Ambassador Celikkol.


Now, amid Turkey's dispute with the US and Sweden over their recognition of the World War One-era mass killings of Armenians by Turkish forces as genocide, it appears that Ankara and Jerusalem are looking to thaw relations.


Erdogan's recent announcement that Israel has agreed to resume indirect talks with Syria under Turkish mediation, as well as Israel's offer to assist Turkey in the aftermath of the earthquake that hit the country's eastern region this week, indicate an apparent attempt by both countries to boost ties.


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