Israel and Turkey to sign historic bilateral aviation agreement

Israel and Turkey to sign historic bilateral aviation agreement

Israel and Turkey will expand bilateral airline traffic under a new aviation deal to be signed on Thursday, their first since 1951, Israel’s Transportation Ministry said.

“The agreement is expected to result in the resumption of flights by Israeli companies to a variety of destinations in Turkey, alongside flights by Turkish companies to Israel,” it said in a statement.

The decision comes after a meeting between transport ministers of the two countries a few months ago.

“Aviation relations are a strategic tool for Israel’s economic development and of particular importance toward Israel's regional position,” Israeli Transport Minister Merav Michaeli said.

The agreement comes as Turkey and Israel have recently been trying to turn a new page, working to restore diplomatic ties that have been strained for more than a decade.

The new period was marked by the visit of Israeli President Isaac Herzog and his meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara in March.

The countries withdrew their respective ambassadors in 2010 after Israeli forces stormed a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians that broke an Israeli blockade. The incident resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish activists. Relations broke down again in 2018 when Turkey, angered by the United States moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, once more recalled its ambassador, prompting Israel to respond in kind.