Will resume direct flights to Turkey: Israel FM

Jerusalem: Israel will resume direct flights to Turkey Thursday as part of the normalisation of bilateral relations, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said Tuesday.

“Flights from Israel to Turkey will resume in two days. Three of our main carriers will start flights,” Cohen said at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in the Turkish capital of Ankara, Xinhua News Agency reported.

“We will definitely warm the important relations between your important and beautiful country and Israel,” he added.

The two sides discussed steps to take bilateral ties to the next phase, Cohen said, adding “we will restore bilateral relations to its former level.”

Israel sent a 450-member rescue team on the first day of Turkey’s devastating earthquakes last week, which was followed by other teams and the establishment of a field hospital in the quake-hit region, the minister said.

Cohen promised to continue humanitarian assistance to Turkey and conveyed deepest condolences to the victims.

Cavusoglu, for his part, said Israel was one of the first countries that sent support to Turkey and thanked Israel for the assistance.

Israeli rescue teams were one of the “largest” on the ground and they provided “very serious support” to the emergency response, he said.

The relations between Israel and Turkey became strained in 2010 when a Turkish-led flotilla attempting to break Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip clashed with Israeli forces, leaving 10 Turks on board dead.

The two countries have been working to mend their ties since last year, when Israeli President Isaac Herzog made an ice-breaking visit to Ankara, the first of its kind by an Israeli leader since 2008.

They also reappointed ambassadors in 2022, who were expelled by each other after Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians during the protests on the Gaza border against the opening

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