Israeli Diplomat Invited To Turkish Presidential Palace

YERUSHALAYIM -

The door to bilateral reconciliation may have opened ever so slightly a few days ago when an Israeli diplomat was invited to the Cankaya presidential palace in Ankara for an official reception, The Jerusalem Post reported.

When Yosef Levi Sfari, Israel’s charge d’affaires at the Israeli embassy in Ankara, stepped into the palace to attend a state reception marking Turkish Independence in 1922, it was the first such visit since the May 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.

The visit was covered by Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News, which pointed out that this was the first time Levi Sfari, who has been posted in Turkey since November 2011, has attended an official state reception.

“Although the normalization process between the two countries could not be completed and no ambassadors have been exchanged, the Israeli issuance of an apology has been seen as sufficient for inviting the charge d’affaires to the reception,” the paper said.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry declined to comment.

Since Prime Minister Netanyahu’s apology in May, negotiations for reconciliation and the exchange of ambassadors have been held. But in recent weeks they were reported to be in a state of collapse over the issue of an Israeli admission that the compensation payments were the result of a wrongful act.

Israel insists that this was not part of the preliminary agreement to engage in talks.