Israeli PM ‘hopeful’ of normalization with Turkey
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a panel session at the 46th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016. AP PhotoIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed hope towards the normalization of relations with Turkey, saying they were in talks with Turkey to restore ties.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on the side lines of World Economic Forum meetings in the Swiss resort of Davos, Netanyahu said, “We are talking to them [Turkish officials], and they are talking to us and if we succeed, that will be good for both countries.”
Relations with Israel have been tense since May 31, 2010, when Israeli forces raided a Gaza-bound flotilla of mainly Turkish activists, killing 10 people aboard the Mavi Marmara, the largest of the six vessels in the flotilla.
More than five years later, Turkey and Israel have begun talks to normalize relations, Turkish diplomatic sources confirmed last month.
In order to restore ties, Turkey has demanded an apology from Israel, compensation for the families of those killed in the attack and the lifting of Israel’s eight-year blockade of Gaza.
Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın told a press briefing late December 2015 that only the fulfilment of these three conditions would lead to normalization of relations with Israel.
In response to a question on whether he was hopeful that ties would be restored, the Israeli prime minister said: “We are always hopeful.”
In early January, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said Turkey and Israel were two countries in the Middle East that need each other.
“Israel is in need of a country like Turkey in the region. We have to admit that we also need Israel,” Erdoğan had said while returning from an official trip to Saudi Arabia.