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Turkish Official: No Normalization of Israel Ties Without Deal On Humanitarian Aid to Gaza

ISTANBUL (AP) — A Turkish official says normalization of ties with Israel hinges on reaching an agreement over humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Monday “the negotiations are continuing (but) we are not at the stage where we can say an agreement has been drafted and sealed.”

Speaking in Ankara, he said there will be a “few more meetings” in the coming weeks to iron out key issues.

His remarks contrast with a foreign ministry statement last week which suggested an agreement was within reach.

Israel and Turkey were traditionally close allies, but ties broke down in 2010 over Israeli commandos’ deadly storming of a Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship.

Kalin said Turkey insists on the “re-establishment of conditions for humanitarian aid to Gaza” and supports an independent state of Palestine “whose capital is East Jerusalem.”

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