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January 21, 2016 11:27 am

Turkey Considers Mideast Diplomat as Next Ambassador to Israel

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UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Turkish Foreign Ministry’ director general for the Middle East Can DizdarUN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré. – Turkey is considering appointing a senior diplomatic official to be the country’s next ambassador to Israel as part of its efforts to restore ties between the countries, the Turkish newspaper Sozcu reported on Wednesday.

According to the report, Ankara has decided to appoint the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s director general for the Middle East, Can Dizdar, to the position.

Relations between Israel and Turkey broke down after the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident, in which eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish American were killed in clashes after Israeli naval commandos were attacked upon boarding the vessel, which was trying to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip. In the aftermath of the raid, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s regime became one of the strongest critics of Israeli policies.

After a request by President Barack Obama, Israel in 2013 apologized to Turkey for the flotilla deaths and agreed to compensate the victims’ families. Israel has not, however, agreed to comply with Turkey’s demand to lift the Gaza blockade.

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Erdogan, whose record of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric is well-documented, has shifted to a tone of appeasement in recent weeks.

“Israel needs a country like Turkey in the region,” he said in early January, “and we also need to accept that we need Israel. This is the reality in the region.”

Erdogan emphasized that “if steps toward partnership based on honesty are taken, then there will be normalization” in Turkish-Israeli relations.

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