Israeli security cabinet approves deal with Turkey
JERUSALEM – Anadolu Agency
AP photoIsrael’s security cabinet approved on June 29 an agreement with Turkey that will allow the two countries to restore full diplomatic relations following a six-year hiatus, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.
Seven members of the security cabinet voted in favor of the agreement with Turkey, Israel radio reported, while it was opposed by the cabinet’s most right-wing members, namely Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Education Minister Naftali Bennet and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
After months of talks, the agreement was simultaneously announced by the Turkish and Israeli prime ministers in separate press conferences in Ankara and Rome on June 27 and signed by the two countries’ high-level Foreign Ministry officials one day later.
The deal calls for an exchange of ambassadors and stepped-up cooperation in several fields, including Israeli plans to export gas to European markets.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, for his part, praised the deal on June 29, saying it would also serve to ease the decade-long blockade of the Gaza Strip, noting that Israel had agreed to allow Turkish humanitarian assistance to be delivered to Gaza via Israel’s port of Ashdod.
Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel were suspended in 2010 after Israeli forces raided a convoy of aid ships attempting to break the blockade of Gaza, killing nine Turkish activists.
Israel will pay $20 million in compensation to the families of the Mavi Marmara victims.