After Five Years, Israel Appoints Ambassador to Turkey

The deputy ambassador in Britain, Eitan Na’eh, will take over the latest improvement since the fallout after the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident.

Eitan Na'eh.
Eitan Na'eh

The Foreign Ministry on Tuesday appointed the deputy ambassador to Britain, Eitan Na’eh, Israel’s new ambassador to Turkey. This is the latest stage in the improved relations with Turkey, after more than five years in which Israel had no ambassador in Ankara.

Na’eh, 53, has been at his London post for two and half years. For nearly a year he was acting ambassador because of delays in Ambassador Mark Regev’s taking over the top job.

Before becoming deputy ambassador in London, Na’eh was the Foreign Ministry’s representative on the National Security Council in the Prime Minister’s Office. Before that he was Israel’s ambassador to Azerbaijan. This is not his first posting to Ankara; early in his career he served in a junior position at the embassy there.

In September 2011, Turkey recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv and expelled the Israeli ambassador. This came after a UN secretary-general’s committee found that Israel’s blockade of Gaza did not violate international law and thus Israel had the right to stop the Gaza-bound flotilla that had sailed from Turkey in May 2010.

After the two sides signed a reconciliation agreement this year, Israel paid $20 million into a fund set up by Ankara from which compensation will be paid to the families of the Turkish nationals killed when Israel raided the ship the Mavi Marmara. Turkey ratified the agreement with a parliamentary vote that made the agreement law.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry has already told a court in Ankara that the state wants all lawsuits against Israeli soldiers who raided the Marmara closed. The court is expected to rule on the matter within weeks.