The report said a delegation of Knesset members led by Israeli Deputy Finance Minister Yitzhak Cohen met with officials including those from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) last week and discussed ways to ease tensions between the two countries.
“The visit received the go ahead – including an okay from the [Israeli] Prime Minister's Office in spite of the fact that the Foreign Ministry expressed its reservations over the trip,” Ynet reported.
According to the report, the Israeli delegation was invited to Turkey by local interfaith organizations. “The Israeli embassy in Ankara and the consulate in İstanbul accompanied Deputy Minister Cohen and even advised him that he should not attend a few of the meetings. The delegation met with parliament members from various political parties in hotels in Ankara and İstanbul,” the report said.
Relations between Turkey and Israel, two close US allies in the region, have soured since Israeli forces boarded the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid ship in May 2010. Ankara downgraded ties and vowed to boost naval patrols in the Eastern Mediterranean in the escalating row. Ankara wants an official apology from Israel for the raid and has called for an end to the Gaza blockade, but both demands have thus far been rejected by the Israeli government. With the increased tensions, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador and suspended all military agreements it had with the country.