Israel to reopen its economic office in Turkey as ties improve

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Israeli Minister of Economy Orna Barbivai and Minister in the Finance Ministry Hamad Amar arrive to attend the first weekly cabinet meeting of the new government in Jerusalem June 20, 2021. Emmanuel Dunand/Pool via REUTERS

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JERUSALEM, July 5 (Reuters) - Israel said on Tuesday it will reopen its economic and trade office in Turkey, as the countries work to restore diplomatic ties that have been strained for more than a decade.

Both governments expelled ambassadors in 2018 and have often traded barbs over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though they are now looking to restore representation to ambassador level. Israel cut back its economic representation as well in 2019.

Despite the years of acrimony, the countries have maintained trade and Turkey remains one of Israel's most important partners. Bilateral trade was up 30% in 2021, reaching $7.7 billion.

"The reopening of the economic attache reflects Israel's commitment to deepening economic ties with Turkey," said Economy Minister Orna Barbivai. "We intend to soon promote a joint economic conference between the countries, after more than a decade."

The move will help more than 1,500 Israeli companies that are currently exporting to Turkey, the ministry said.

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Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch Editing by Steven Scheer

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