Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said that Turkish-Israeli discussions continue to progress in a positive way, recalling that Turkey has achieved being the first country Israel has apologised to because of the Mavi Marmara incident.
Davutoglu asserted that Turkey’s cut ties with Israel following the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara, which killed Turkish citizens who were boarded on the ship, speaking in his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) group meeting on Dec. 22.
The Mavi Marmara was a Comoros-flagged passenger ship owned by a Turkish NGO - the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) - and was one of the six civilian ships of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla targeted by an Israeli military operation on May 31, 2010.
The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla took place in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea. Nine Turkish citizens were killed when Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara in a bungled raid, and a 10th activist later died from heavy wounds.
The flotilla was set up by an international coalition called the Free Gaza Movement, which included the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and the IHH. Its aim was announced to be to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, which was strengthened in 2007 when Hamas took over Gaza.
Davutoglu stated that Turkey conveyed three conditions to Israel at the time of the incident, which were demanding an official apology, compensation for the relatives of the Mavi Marmara victims, and removal of the blockade on Gaza in order to normalise relations between the countries.
“Turkey has experienced the pride of being the first country which made Israel apologise to itself,” following the incident the prime minister declared informing that the first condition has already been fulfilled by Israel.
The Israeli government, following a telephone conversation between Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, apologised to Turkey in March 2013.
“For the fulfillment of the other conditions, discussions have been continuing [between the respective delegations]. A final resolution has not been reached yet though [discussions] develop on a positive direction,” he underlined.
The maritime raid drew widespread condemnation internationally, and considerably damaged Israel-Turkey relations.
The Turkish foreign ministry in late June confirmed a secret meeting that took place in the Italian capital Rome between the Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold and Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu in order to resume talks for a reconciliation agreement.
The ministry stated at the time that there had previously been talks between Israel and Turkey for the sake of normalising relations and that Israel already knew the Turkish perspective with concern to the two countries' ties.