Photo Credit: Moshe Shai/FLASH90
A Turkish Airline plane on the tarmac at Ben Gurion International Airport, August 03, 2013.

Israel and Turkey on Thursday signed a new bilateral aviation agreement, the first since 1951, which will strengthen the ties between the two countries and allow for the resumption of Israeli airlines’ flights to Turkey.

Following discussions between the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel and its Turkish counterpart, and a meeting between Transport Minister Merav Michaeli and her Turkish counterpart several months ago, an agreement was expected to be signed between the two countries to bolster their countries’ cooperation in the field of aviation.

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The bilateral agreement between the countries is expected to result in the resumption of flights by Israeli airlines to a variety of destinations in Turkey, alongside the numerous flights by Turkish airlines to and from Israel.

Minister of Transport Michaeli, who promoted the contacts, expressed her thanks to the ministries involved, including the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and head of the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI) Joel Feldschuh, for their part in promoting the agreement.

Israel’s Economy Minister Orna Barbivai said on Wednesday that Israel plans to reopen its economic and trade office in Turkey next month as relations begin to improve between the two countries. “The reopening of the economic attaché reflects Israel’s commitment to deepening economic ties with Turkey,” Barbivai said, adding: “We intend to soon promote a joint economic conference between the countries, after more than a decade.”

Ohad Cohen, Head of the Foreign Trade Section at the Ministry of Economy, said Israel considers Turkey to be “a significant economy” for Israel’s foreign trade. “Today’s exports to Turkey are concentrated and there is great potential for expansion. The potential inherent in the cooperation, for the benefit of the two countries,” he said.

Cohen noted that reopening the economic office would benefit some 1,540 Israeli companies that export to the Turkish market. The Turkish state news agency Anadolu on Wednesday cited Israeli figures indicating Turkey is the fourth most important trade partner for the Israeli economy.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.