As a part of Israel’s ongoing cooperation with NATO, a Turkish warship has docked in Haifa Bay for the first time since the Mavi Marmara incident.
The presence of the Turkish craft follows the re-establishment of ties between Jerusalem and Ankara.
It has been more than a decade since a Turkish warship has entered the Israeli port. The Turkish vessel, the TCG Kemalreis (F-247) – a Barbaros-class frigate – joined the USS Forrest Sherman, an American guided-missile destroyer in the Haifa port.
The Kemalreis is one of the Turkish navy’s most advanced ships. The last Turkish warship docked in 2010 before the government cut off diplomatic relations with Israel following the Mavi Marmara incident in which 10 Turkish activists trying to break Israel's blockade of Gaza were killed by Israel Navy commandos.
Prior to the incident, the two countries participated in joint annual navy and air force exercises. Afterwards, Israel turned to Turkey’s adversaries – Greece and Cyprus – for such exercises, including one in July between the Israeli Air Force and the Hellenic Air Force.
Following the Mavi Marmara crisis, all defense contracts and military cooperation with Israel were canceled by Turkey. Turkey also attempted to isolate Israel from military cooperation with NATO, but following a 2016 reconciliation, Ankara withdrew its veto against Israel’s being accepted as a partner nation to NATO.
Despite the re-establishment of full diplomatic ties, the Kemalreis crew will not meet their Israeli counterparts. The Kemalreis will be leaving Haifa port on Tuesday.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.