Are relations thawing between Israel and Turkey? Turkish Ambassador to Israel Ahmet Oguz Celikkol met Thursday with Defense Minister Ehud Barak in the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv in order to give him a formal invitation to meet with Turkish Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul in Turkey on an official visit next month.
Minister Barak thanked the Turkish minister for the invitation and confirmed that he would travel to Turkey.
Barak said that the visit will have an important role in the relations between the two countries: "Turkey is a central player in the region and a critically important axis in the peace process between Israel and its neighbors. Relations with Turkey are important to Israel from every possible perspective," said Barak.
The Turkish ambassador said that his country places much importance on Barak's upcoming visit to Turkey.
Tensions between the two countries escalated following Operation Cast Lead a year ago. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan leveled harsh criticism against Israel for the offensive and called for Israel to be shunned by the international community.
In addition, a joint military training session between the air forces of the countries was recently cancelled on the backdrop of intensifying media pressure in Turkey.