Turkey has selected a new ambassador to send to Israel after Ankara recalled its envoy in 2018 over the killing of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip at the hands of Israeli forces, media reports say.
The candidate is 40-year-old Ufuk Ulutas, the chairman for the Center for Strategic Research at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, who formerly studied at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, they said.
Last week, al-Monitor cited sources as saying that Ulutas, a non-career diplomat, is “very polished,” “very clever” and “very pro-Palestinian”.
According to the report, the move was aimed at improving Ankara’s relationship with the United States.
The Times of Israel on Sunday said it was not immediately clear if Israel was set to return its ambassador to Turkey.
Turkey recalled its ambassador to Tel Aviv following the killing of dozens of Palestinian protesters by Israeli forces, and the inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem al-Quds in May 2018.
Ankara also expelled Israel’s ambassador, Eitan Na’eh, and consul in Istanbul.
Israeli-Turkish ties have remained frosty despite the 2016 normalization deal.
In June 2016, Israel and Turkey reached an agreement on the normalization of their relations six years after an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla killed 10 Turkish activists in high seas and sent their ties spiraling into a cycle of tensions in May 2010.
Ankara initially reacted with fury. It suspended its military ties with Israel and expelled the Israeli envoy from Ankara in September 2010 over Tel Aviv’s refusal to apologize for the killings.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently condemned Israel’s normalization deals with Persian Gulf Arab states.