Turkey has appointed an ambassador to the ‘State of Palestine’, Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reported Tuesday night. Akir Ozkan Torunlar, Turkey’s current consul-general, is taking on the new honorific title as the nation’s representative to Ramallah.
Though the Palestinians enjoy non-member state status at the United Nations, a “State of Palestine” is not recognized by most countries.
Tornular met with PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki in Ramallah, according to the report, who thanked the Turkish diplomat for his nation’s support of last year’s successful Palestinian bid for non-member state status at the United Nations.
Israel and Turkey enjoyed close diplomatic and business relations for years, but a gradual deterioration in ties was accelerated with the May 2010 Gaza flotilla incident, in which clashes between pro-Palestinian activists and IDF troops aboard the Mavi Marmara ship resulted in the deaths of nine activists, eight of them Turkish citizens, and injuries to several Israeli soldiers.
Relations between Ankara and Jerusalem have since remained sour, with Turkey demanding an apology, and compensation for the families of those killed, as prerequisites for the renewal of ties.
Raphael Ahren contributed to this report.