TEL AVIV, Israel — Through years of Turkish-Israeli estrangement, little love seemed lost between leaders of the two countries.
Then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan branded Israel a “terror state” and accused it of carrying out war crimes in the Gaza Strip. In equally caustic terms, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman denounced the Turkish leader as an “anti-Semitic neighborhood bully.’’
On Monday, the two eastern Mediterranean powers sought to move past the emotionally charged dispute over Israel’s blockade of Gaza and Erdogan’s support for Hamas, as they unveiled a deal to normalize diplomatic relations. The pact arrives six years after nine Turkish activists were killed by Israeli naval forces on the deck of the Mavi Marmara, a boat that challenged Israel’s blockade of the Palestinian territory.