Turkey to finalise normalisation deal with Israel soon

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu says the approval of the pre-agreed deal between Turkey and Israel to normalise relations was delayed due to the failed coup, but will likely be signed before parliament goes on recess next week.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A Turkish flag flutters atop the Turkish embassy as an Israeli flag is seen nearby, in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 26, 2016.

A reconciliation agreement between Turkey and Israel will likely be signed before parliament goes on recess next week, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said.

During an interview with Anadolu Agency on Wednesday, Çavuşoğlu said parliament’s approval of the pre-agreed deal was delayed due to the defeated coup attempt which took place on July 15, but that it will be finalised "as soon as possible."

"I think we will finalize the issue before parliament’s recess. Israel has met our terms, paving the way to normalize ties. Therefore, we must do this as soon as possible," Çavuşoğlu said.

Parliament, by the end of next week, will go on recess until September 20, Justice and Development (AK Party) Group Deputy Chair Mustafa Elitaş said on Wednesday.

Last month, Turkey and Israel agreed to normalise diplomatic relations following a six-year hiatus.

The relations between the two states deteriorated in 2009, when then prime minister and now President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan chided Israel’s then president Shimon Peres at World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, over Israel’s atrocities in Gaza.

Ties degraded even further following the Israeli attack on Mavi Marmara, one of the six civilian ships of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea.

An Israeli marine is dropped from a helicopter onto the Gaza-bound ship Mavi Marmara in this frame grab from video released on May 31, 2010, by the Israeli Defence Forces.

Nine Turkish citizens were killed when Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara in a bungled raid.  

A10th activist succumbed to his injuries nearly four years later.

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 to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, which was strengthened in 2007 when Hamas took over Gaza.

The Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, carrying pro-Palestinian activists to take part in a humanitarian convoy, leaves from Istanbul's Sarayburnu port, Turkey, May 22, 2010.

In order for relations with Tel Aviv to be restored, Turkey demanded Israel fulfill three conditions; an official apology, compensation for the families of those killed, and the lifting of Israel’s Gaza blockade.

In 2013, Netanyahu called Erdoğan and apologised him for the civilian deaths during the Israeli naval raid.

Following the phone call, relations seemed to be warming up several months ago with meetings taking place between delegations from both sides.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said that Tel Aviv has met all of Ankara’s preconditions for normalising ties.

Under the terms of the agreement, Turkey and Israel will exchange ambassadors and Tel Aviv will pay $20 million in compensation to the families of the 2010 flotilla attack victims.

Israel has also agreed to Turkey’s request to maintain a humanitarian presence in the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Last month, Israel gave passage to vehicles carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza.

TRTWorld and agencies