Israel, Turkey further improve relations with economic and aviation agreements

The countries initialed a new aviation agreement, on the same week Israel announced it would reopen its economic affairs office in Istanbul

Israel, Turkey further improve relations with economic and aviation agreements

Lapid and Çavuşoğlu in Ankara, Turkey, June 2022. Photo: GPO/Boaz Oppenheim

A new aviation agreement between Israel and Turkey was initialed just before the weekend (Thursday), pursuant to the recent understanding between Israel’s Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

The agreement is part of the decision to expand and develop bilateral relations that was made by Lapid and Çavuşoğlu at their meetings in Jerusalem and Ankara last month, while the former still served as Israel’s Foreign Minister.

The initialing – signed by the directors of the two countries' civil aviation – is a vital stage toward signing a full aviation agreement, which is expected to allow Israeli airlines to resume flying to Turkey.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the initialing “was made possible thanks to open and constructive negotiations in recent weeks and constitutes an important milestone in advancing bilateral relations.”

Also on Thursday, Israel’s President Isaac Herzog phoned his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in honor of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

President Herzog extended his best wishes to President Erdoğan, his family, and the Turkish people, and emphasized the importance of the development of the bilateral relationship over the past year.

Both presidents presidents also expressed their satisfaction with the ongoing security coordination between their countries and “voiced their hopes for the further strengthening and promotion of their nations’ relationship,” said the Israeli Office of the President.

Another positive development in the relations between both countries – which are finding their way back to each other after years of animosity – was the decision to reopen the Israel Ministry of Economy and Industry’s economic office in Istanbul starting next month, after its activities were drastically reduced in the summer of 2019.

Turkey is the fourth most important trading partner in the Israeli economy and the fifth most important export destination in 2021, according to official data. The Ministry of Economy notes that the reopening of the economic attaché in Istanbul will have a positive effect about 1540 local companies currently exporting to the Turkish market.

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