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Israel resumes direct flights to Turkey after 16 years

22 / 02 / 2023

After 16 years, Israeli airlines resume direct flights to Turkey. On Thursday, the Israeli air carrier sent the first passenger plane from Tel Aviv to Istanbul in 16 years.

The flights of Israeli airlines to Turkey were stopped in 2007 due to differences between the two countries, during all these years foreign, mainly Turkish companies carried out passenger transportation between them.

In the first phase, we are talking about flights from Ben Gurion Airport to Istanbul, but soon the Israeli companies plan to connect with other cities in Turkey, first of all, Antalya.

On September 4, 2022, the Israeli Cabinet of Ministers approved the draft agreement on the resumption of flights from Israeli airlines to Turkey. Israeli airlines’ resumption of flights to Turkey is a consequence of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries, which was announced on August 17 of the same year.

Let’s remind that in 2022, almost 12 years after the last major rupture in Turkish-Israeli relations, the two countries decided to restore diplomatic relations at the highest level and appoint mutual ambassadors. On November 12, Ankara announced the appointment of Shakir Ozkan Torunlar as ambassador to Tel Aviv. The visit of Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz to Ankara was particularly impressive in terms of its results, behind the scenes of which, according to the “Intelligence Online” website, an agreement was signed between Turkey and Israel in the field of intelligence.

In general, Turkey and Israel have several common interests in our region, especially in the field of defense. As a power claiming the role of regional leader, Turkey needs to balance Iran’s influence in this region. Therefore, the interests of Israel and Turkey coincide, first of all, in the context of not allowing Iran’s strengthening and increasing influence in the region. Both sides are interested in strengthening Azerbaijan. Turkey wants to integrate the latter into its project, and Israel wants to use it against Iran. The interest of both sides for Artsakh to be a part of Azerbaijan is derived from this: the longer the Azerbaijani-Iranian border, the wider the range of opportunities for presence and involvement in the region.


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