Published On: Fri, Apr 8th, 2016

Turkey, Israel make progress on deal to restore ties

The two nations have been making slow but steady efforts to mend relations for a while. Once close allies, the two drifted apart after the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.

ISRAEL-TURKEY Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish and Israeli teams made progress towards finalizing an agreement to mend ties between the two countries in talks and agreed a deal will be finalized in the next meeting to be convened very soon, the Turkish foreign ministry said on Friday.

Turkey was once Israel’s closest regional ally but ties collapsed in 2010 over the killing by Israeli commandos of 10 Turkish pro-Palestinian activists who tried to breach the Gaza blockade. The Israeli troops raided the Mavi Marmara ship, and met violent resistance. They were eventually thrown off board, suffering injuries.

Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu, the Israeli prime minister’s special envoy, Joseph Ciechanover, and acting chairman of Israel’s National Security Council, Brigadier General (ret.) Jacob Nagel, met in London on Thursday, the Turkish ministry said in a statement.

“The teams made progress towards finalizing the agreement and closing the gaps, and agreed that the deal will be finalized in the next meeting which will be convened very soon, ” the ministry said.

It did not say what form a deal might take but Ankara has always insisted there can be no normalization in ties with Israel unless its conditions for ending the Gaza blockade and compensation for the deaths of the activists are met.

Israel allows commercial goods into Gaza daily but limits the transfer of certain items such as cement and building materials as it fears militants, such as Hamas, will use them to build fortifications and attack tunnels.

Officials describe the blockade on Gaza, which is supported by neighboring Egypt, as a necessary means of preventing arms smuggling by Palestinian militants.

Reuters and Ynetnews

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