As a sign of the renewal of ties between Turkey and Israel, the TCG Kemalreis, a Barbaros-class frigate of the Turkish Navy, docked in Haifa harbor on Saturday.
Turkish navy in Haifa this morning pic.twitter.com/rPzHyN3pHc
— Daniel Rubenstein (@paulrubens) September 3, 2022
This marks the first time since the Mavi Marmara incident led to a deterioration in Israel-Turkey relations that a Turkish warship has docked in Israeli waters.
The warship, one of the most modern vessels in Turkey’s navy, was accompanied by the USS Forrest Sherman, an American guided-missile destroyer, as part of a NATO drill.
“The docking is part of Israel’s cooperation with and support of NATO,” a statement from the Israel Defense Forces said.
The Turkish sailors were not permitted to disembark as they did not have visas to enter the country. The American sailors were exempt from the passport requirement.
The military visit comes one month after Israel and Turkey signed an agreement reestablishing full diplomatic ties.
In 2010, nine activists (eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American with dual citizenship) were killed when Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara as part of a flotilla that violated an Israeli blockade. Seven Israeli soldiers were injured in the incident. This led to a deterioration in relations between the two countries.
Before the incident, relations between Israel and Turkey were quite active as Turkey relied on Israeli expertise in modernizing its military. In September 2011, military agreements between Turkey and Israel were suspended.