Israel postpones choosing new ambassador to Turkey
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Israel postpones choosing new ambassador to Turkey

Meeting to pick nominee pushed off, no new date set; envoy exchange to mark final stage of reconciliation deal

Shani Cooper, diplomatic attaché to the Israeli mission in Ankara, shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a reception in the Turkish capital on August 30, 2016. (Courtesy of the Turkish presidency)
Shani Cooper, diplomatic attaché to the Israeli mission in Ankara, shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a reception in the Turkish capital on August 30, 2016. (Courtesy of the Turkish presidency)

Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday postponed a meeting to nominate a new ambassador to Turkey.

The meeting, scheduled for October 27, has been pushed off and no new date has been set, according to Channel 2.

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed to The Times of Israel that the meeting had been delayed, but did not offer an explanation.

The recent reconciliation deal hit a bump last week, however, when a Turkish court refused to dismiss a case against members of the Israeli military, a key condition of the agreement. Dismissing the legal charges against IDF officers connected to a 2010 naval raid on a Turkish flotilla trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip was a central Israeli condition for the June agreement.

Appointing a new ambassador is a key component of the agreement. Earlier this month, Turkish media reported that Kemal Okem, a close associate of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, had been selected as Turkey’s ambassador to Israel.

The Mavi Marmara protest ship is escorted to Ashdod port on May 31, 2010 (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)
The Mavi Marmara protest ship is escorted to Ashdod port on May 31, 2010 (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

Turkey and Israel have been planning to make an official announcement about their new ambassadors at the same time.

The exchange of diplomats is the last main element of an agreement signed between the two countries.

Among the terms of the deal was Israel’s payment of $20 million in compensation to Turkey for the IDF raid in 2010, during which 10 Turkish citizens were killed.

The Israeli commandos were violently attacked by those on board the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, and nine Turkish citizens, including one with American citizenship, were killed in the ensuing melee. A tenth died of his wounds years later. A number of Israeli soldiers were injured in the raid.

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