Türkiye appoints Şakir Özkan Torunlar as ambassador to Israel


Türkiye announced Şakir Özkan Torunlar as the new ambassador to Israel on Thursday, shortly after Israel had designated Irit Lillian as its ambassador.

Torunlar had worked as consul-general in Jerusalem and ambassador to Palestine between 2010-14.

On Sept. 19, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s appointment committee approved Lillian’s appointment as Israel’s ambassador to Ankara, marking the first appointment since 2018.

Career diplomat Lillian is believed to have played a crucial role in normalizing ties between Türkiye and Israel.

Lillian has served as Israel’s charge d’affaires in Ankara for the past two years. She was also Israel’s ambassador to Bulgaria from 2015 to 2019.

Israel-Türkiye relations, long-frosty amid feuding over the Palestinian cause, have warmed in recent months, with energy emerging as a key area of cooperation.

In August, Türkiye and Israel agreed to restore full diplomatic ties and reappoint ambassadors and consuls general after a four-year hiatus.

Also, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid met in late September on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly at the Turkish House (Türkevi) in New York in the first face-to-face talks since 2008.

Türkiye in 1949 became the first Muslim-majority nation to recognize Israel.

On the other side, Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal was appointed as Türkiye’s U.N. envoy while Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakcı has been appointed as EU ambassador.

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