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Turkey, Israel working on restore ties to ambassador level: Minister

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Turkey and Israel have begun work restoring their mutual diplomatic representation to ambassador level, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday as the two countries seek an end to more than a decade of strained ties.

In a joint news conference with his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid, Cavusoglu also said they were in close contact regarding threats to Israeli citizens in Turkey and that Ankara would not allow terrorist attacks on its territory.

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The two countries expelled ambassadors in 2018 and have often traded barbs over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Energy has emerged as a key area for potential cooperation as they strive to mend relations.

Cavusoglu was speaking alongside his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid, who was visiting Ankara after months of warming ties but amid worries voiced by Israel that its citizens could come under attack by Iranian agents in the NATO-member country.

Cavusoglu said he and Lapid were in close contact regarding threats to Israeli citizens. Lapid thanked Turkey for helping foil an Iranian plot to harm Israelis in Istanbul and said the effort was still underway.

Israel had warned its citizens against travel to Turkey, citing suspected assassination or abduction plots by Iran, which has vowed to avenge the May 22 assassination of a Revolutionary Guards colonel in Tehran that it blamed on Israeli agents.

Cavusoglu visited Israel last month to encourage expanded economic cooperation in the first such visit by a senior Turkish official in 15 years.

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