Herzog with Ambassador Şakir Özkan Torunlar
Herzog with Ambassador Şakir Özkan TorunlarHaim Zach/GPO

For the first time since the restoration of full diplomatic relations, President Isaac Herzog on Wednesday received the credentials of the new Turkish Ambassador to Israel, Şakir Özkan Torunlar.

Torunlar has in the past served as the Turkish Ambassador to India and as consul general of his country in Jerusalem.

In a statement as he met the Ambassador, Herzog said, “Today we complete another important step, reaching another milestone in the strengthening of our relations and deepening of the friendship between Turkey and Israel. As you know, one of the key moments in this relationship was the invitation I received from my friend President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to visit Turkey, and my historic State Visit to Ankara and Istanbul in March 2022.”

“It is no secret that the State of Israel attaches great importance to our historic relationship with Turkey, as do I personally. It is a relationship that has known crises in the past but is now, to our delight, on a very encouraging trajectory. Israel and Turkey can and must cooperate in many fields that will bring progress and growth for both countries and both nations. We must deepen and broaden our collaboration in many diverse fields, including tourism, academia, energy, science, culture, agriculture and so much more, so that they may bring value to our citizens, and no less importantly—to our region,” he continued.

“President Erdogan has underscored in the past year, including in conversations with me and publicly, how deeply he recognizes the importance of the partnership between Israel and Turkey, and I would like to take this opportunity, as President of the State of Israel, to invite President Erdogan to visit Israel, which I am sure will contribute to deepening the ties and cooperation between our countries,” said Herzog.

Last August, Turkey and Israel formally announced they would normalize relations by returning the ambassadors and consuls.

In December, Israel's Ambassador to Turkey, Irit Lillian, presented her credentials to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

After the recent Israeli election, Erdogan and Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the phone for 12 minutes.

During the conversation, Erdogan congratulated Netanyahu on his election victory. The two leaders concluded that they will cooperate in starting a new age in Israeli-Turkish relations.