Turkish-Israeli Reconciliation Deal Reached

Ankara, 22 Ramadhan 1437/ 27 June 2016 (MINA) – Turkey and Israel reached a reconciliation agreement late Sunday to normalize relations more than six years after Israeli troops stormed a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in international waters, a senior Turkish official confirmed on Monday.

According to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, Ankara and Tel Aviv teams that met during final talk in Rome on Sunday agreed on key conditions for reconciliation.

The official said that Israel accepted a number of requests by the Turkish side, including Israeli compensation for families of those killed in the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla raid and Turkey’s humanitarian presence in the embargoed Gaza Strip.

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Under the deal, Turkey will be able to send humanitarian aid to Gaza as well as implement infrastructure projects including residential buildings and a 200-bed Turkish-Palestine Friendship Hospital in the area, the senior official said.

“However, contrary to claims, the deal has no provision regarding Hamas,” the official added.

Ties between Ankara and Tel Aviv have been frayed since 2010 when six civilian ships in a humanitarian aid flotilla were attacked in international waters by Israeli forces.

The vessels were trying to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Nine Turkish citizens were killed and 30 other people were injured; one person died nearly four years later after being critically injured in the attack.

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Turkey demanded an official apology from Israel, compensation for the families of those killed in the attack, as well as the removal of Israel’s blockade on Gaza in the aftermath of the attack.

In 2013, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to then-Turkish Premier and now President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the attack.

In recent months, the two countries have been engaged in talks aiming at normalizing ties.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim is due to make a statement Monday regarding progress in negotiations with Israel, sources at the Prime Ministry told Anadolu Agency.(T/hna/R03)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)