TEL AVIV – Turkey will sign a reconciliation agreement with Israel if the latter agrees to resolve the electricity and water crises in the Gaza Strip, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in Qatar on Friday.
Davutoglu said that the reconciliation process with Israel had reached a very advanced stage, Haaretz reported.
“With God’s help it will be resolved,” he said, noting that there were only a few more details to iron out.
While in Qatar, Davutoglu also met with Hamas chief Khaled Meshal. For Israel’s part, one of the main obstacles in reaching an accord is the fact that Hamas still headquarters its military command in Istanbul. However, it is not clear whether Israel’s demand to close it was discussed at the meeting.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last Wednesday that Israeli and Turkish negotiating teams are to resume talks in mid-May, though a senior official in Jerusalem has said that no date has been confirmed.
Erdogan said the two countries discussed ways to meet the Turkish demand for “a lifting of the embargo” on the Gaza Strip.
He also said that Turkey had proposed setting up a ship with a power generator off the coast of the Strip in one of a series of humanitarian initiatives designed to ease the utility crises. But Haaretz reports that Israel objected to the idea and instead proposed that the governments of Turkey and Germany cooperate to build a power plant in Gaza.
“We said that from our point of view it’s possible. We still haven’t given up the idea of sending a ship. Israel also responded positively to our proposal to deal with the water crisis in Gaza by building desalination plants and wells. Schools and hospitals are also needed. We are seeking donors, and there are those who have pledged donations,” Erdogan said.
Relations between the two countries were severed six years ago, after Israeli forces boarded a Turkish “humanitarian aid” ship that attempted to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
In a rare conversation with an Israeli official, Erdogan offered condolences to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin over the loss of three Israeli lives in a terror attack in Istanbul in March.