Turkey and Israel Agree to Normalize Relations

Turkey and Israel Agree to Normalize Relations

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister says his country will sign a formal reconciliation agreement next month that restores full ties with the Jewish state following Israel’s agreement to pay “compensation” to the families of the Turkish citizens on board the Mavi Marmara who were killed while trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza in 2010. 

Turkey severed relations with Israel following the incident in which the Turkish ship leading a ‘flotilla’ of so called “Palestinian rights” advocates was boarded and seized as it attempted to break Israel’s blockade of the Hamas run Gaza strip which was imposed after Hamas fired more than 17,000 rockets at Israeli cities in 2009. Nine people were killed when they attacked Israeli commandos with crowbars and lead pipes as they attempted to board the ship.    

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc made the announcement to reporters from Turkey’s leading daily, Hurriyet. He says the agreement will be signed after Turkey’s local and regional elections which are scheduled to take place March 30. 

The paper claims that the agreed upon compensation, the amount of which has not been made public, was paid to Turkey last month. Israel’s Channel 2 News claims sources tell it that Israel paid roughly $20 million in damages, which if true, would be significantly less than Turkey had previously demanded.

Furthermore, as part of the agreement, Turkey reportedly agreed to drop all existing claims against Israeli military who used deadly force to protect themselves against protestors who attacked them with crowbars and lead pipes as they tried to board their vessel. 

Arinc is quoted in Hurriyet saying “The agreement should be approved by the Turkish Parliament, and right after that we will return to normal relations.”