Turkish minister in Israel on first official visit in seven years

Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avci arrived in Israel late on Monday, marking the first high-level visit by a Turkish official to Israel since 2010.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avci and Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin hold joint press conference in Tel Aviv, Israel on February 7, 2017.

Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avci is among ministers from ten countries attending the International Mediterranean Tourism Market conference in Israel on Monday.

Relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv deteriorated in May 2010 after an attack on the Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid vessel in which Israeli commandos killed ten Turkish activists on the Gaza-bound ship. ​

Avci is the first high-ranking Turkish official to visit Israel since 2010. His visit marks an important step for the reconciliation between Turkey and Israel since diplomatic ties were renewed last year.

"We discussed strengthening relations between the two countries," said Avci in Tuesday’s joint press conference with his Israeli counterpart Yariv Levin.

"There were 260,000 Israelis who visited Turkey last year and I think it is possible to raise the number to 600,000 as it was in previous years," said Avci.

"We are following in many aspects the measures that were taken in Turkey many years ago to build their tourism industry," said Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin.

Avci also said that Turkey was doing all it could to achieve a peaceful solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict. 

Galip Dalay explains the details of Turkish-Israeli relations to TRT World.