The Israeli Minister of Trade and Industry has said that he doesn’t expect diplomatic relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv to return to “normal”. Among other issues, Benjamin Ben Eliezer blamed the deterioration on the humiliation of the Turkish ambassador by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister last week.
Israeli Radio reported Ben Eliezer’s comments, in which he stressed the strategic importance of bilateral relations between the two countries, including Israel’s need for Turkey’s mediation in peace negotiations with Syria.
The Israeli minister, who is one of Israel’s strongest advocates for improved relations with Turkey, believes that Defence Minister Ehud Barak’s visit to Ankara can help to mend fences. The relationship has been strained since last year’s Israeli invasion of Gaza.