Timeline of the Turkey-Israel Rapprochement

Timeline of the Turkey-Israel Rapprochement

Caysie Myers – Coordinator, THO

May 2010 – Turkey and Israel break diplomatic ties after a confrontation between Turkish activists and Israeli naval commandos on the Mavi Marmara leaves nine activists dead and four Israeli soldiers injured.

November 2012 – Back-channel talks to break the diplomatic impasse are held in Geneva between Joseph Ciechanover, former Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General, and former Turkish Foreign Ministry Director Feridun Sinirlioglu. 

March 2013 – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologizes for the deaths of Turkish activists during the 2010 raid.

December 2015 – Turkey and Israel begin a new round of secret talks to seek rapprochement. 

June 26, 2016 – A high-level meeting results in a normalization agreement in which Turkey agrees to void all lawsuits against Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers involved in the 2010 raid. Israel agrees to pay $20 million dollars to the families of those killed in the raid and to allow unlimited humanitarian aid to enter Gaza from Turkey, provided that it passes through Ashdod Port. Ambassadors will be appointed in Tel Aviv and Ankara and all restrictions on bilateral cooperation will be lifted. 

October 13, 2016 – On the sidelines of the World Energy Congress in Istanbul, Turkey and Israel agree to deepen energy cooperation based on a mutual desire to tap into Israel’s Leviathan field, an underwater natural gas reserve of about 900 billion cubic meters. Israel looks to Turkey as a corridor for exporting its natural gas to Europe.

November 15, 2016 – Israel appoints Eitan Na’eh as its first ambassador to Ankara since the 2010 breakdown in relations.

November 16, 2016 – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan officially announces the appointment of Turkey’s first ambassador to Israel, Kemal Okem, since diplomatic relations broke down in 2010.

January 17, 2017 – Turkey’s Chief of the General Staff, Gen. Hulusi Akar, meets with IDF Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan on the sidelines of the NATO meeting in Brussels. This is the first high-level meeting between security officers from both countries since 2010. 

February 1, 2017 – The Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Undersecretary, Yuval Rotem, and his Turkish counterpart, Umit Yalcin, meet in Ankara to draft a roadmap for the cooperation agenda for the normalization process. This is the first political consultation between both countries since 2010.

February 7, 2017 – Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avci visits Israel and meets with his Israeli counterpart, Yariv Levin, at the International Mediterranean Tourism Market expo in the first visit of a Turkish minister to Israel since 2010. 

March 21, 2017 – Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz announces that talks between Israel and Turkey regarding a natural gas pipeline could conclude as early as the summer of 2017. The two countries are currently negotiating a government-to-government agreement on a pipeline that would carry Israeli gas to Turkey, with gas beginning to flow by 2020.

Recent Developments in Israel-Turkey relations