(JNS.org) Israel’s new ambassador to Turkey, Eitan Na’eh, met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Monday. Na’eh presented his diplomatic credentials to Erdogan, marking one of the final steps in restoring relations between the former close regional allies.
The ceremony, held at Erdogan’s massive presidential palace, included an honor guard of Turkish soldiers and a rendition of Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikvah.”
Erdogan welcomed Na’eh, who was previously stationed in Ankara in the 1990s, with a smile and handshake. He was impressed when the Israeli ambassador greeted him in Turkish. The Turkish leader also shook hands with Na’eh’s wife and children as well as the Israeli embassy’s diplomatic staff.
Following their meeting, Na’eh said on Twitter that he was “very pleased to present my credentials to President Erdogan and to start a new phase in the relations between the two countries.”
The last Israeli ambassador to Turkey, Gabby Levy, was expelled in 2011 following the May 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, in which nine Turkish militants were killed after they had attacked Israeli commandos aboard a vessel that was trying to breach the blockade on Gaza. Turkey and Israel agreed to normalize relations last summer.
Earlier this fall, Erodgan named Kemal Okem, one of his close advisers and a foreign policy expert, as Turkey’s envoy to Israel.