Turkish warship docks in Israel as bilateral ties warm

A Turkish warship has docked in Israel for the first such visit in more than a decade as relations between the US allies improve following fierce feuding over the Palestinian cause.

The frigate Kemalreis docked in Haifa on Saturday as part of NATO maneuvers in the Mediterranean Sea, a Turkish official said. An Israeli official said Ankara had submitted a preliminary request for the crew to disembark on shore leave.

Sailors salute as they stand on a naval frigate as it is berthed at the Haifa Port, in Haifa, Israel, September 4, 2022. (Reuters)
Sailors salute as they stand on a naval frigate as it is berthed at the Haifa Port, in Haifa, Israel, September 4, 2022. (Reuters)

A Haifa port official said it was the first time a Turkish naval vessel had visited since at least 2010, when bilateral ties were shattered by Israel’s storming of a pro-Palestinian aid convoy that tried to breach its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Ten Turks were killed by Israeli marines in that incident.

A Turkish naval frigate is seen berthed at the Haifa Port, in Haifa, Israel, September 4, 2022. (Reuters)
A Turkish naval frigate is seen berthed at the Haifa Port, in Haifa, Israel, September 4, 2022. (Reuters)

For its part, Israel has voiced objections at NATO-member Turkey’s hosting of members of Hamas, a Palestinian militant group that is proscribed as a terrorist group in the West.

But the countries have moved to mend their relationship in recent months, with energy emerging as a key area for potential cooperation. They are expected to appoint new ambassadors soon.

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