Israeli, Turkish spy chiefs meet before settlement: Report
ISTANBULThe top spies of Israel and Turkey met some 10 days before a possible announcement of a settlement on June 26 to discuss the details of the deal, Israeli daily Haaretz reported on June 26.
The daily reported that a declaration for the normalization of ties between the two countries was expected on June 26, after Israel’s Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen “went on a secret visit to Turkey” some 10 days ago and agreed with Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan on the main understandings, mainly concerning Hamas’ activities.
“Under the agreement Turkey will not enable Hamas to carry out, plan or direct any military activity against Israel. However, Hamas offices may continue to operate in Turkey for the purpose of diplomatic activity,” read a part of the report by Haaretz.
On June 24, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met the leader of Palestinian group Hamas, Khaled Mashal, in Istanbul, where the two discussed how to resolve the disagreements among Palestinians as well as Turkish humanitarian assistance, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Turkish-Israeli relations were suspended in 2010 after Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara, part of the Gaza-bound “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” trying to break the Israeli blockade on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. As a result of the attack eight Turkish citizens and one U.S. citizen of Turkish descent were killed and a tenth died of his wounds three years later.
Haaretz reported that Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and the Israeli prime minister’s envoy, Joseph Ciechanover, would lead the two countries’ delegations, which would meet in Rome on June 26 to go over the draft agreement one final time.
“Until we see the final draft we won’t know if there’s an agreement,” Haaretz quoted a senior Israeli official as saying.
Netanyahu in Rome for talks with Kerry
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was scheduled to be in Rome on June 26 to meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
“If the agreement with Turkey is finalized, Netanyahu plans to hold a news conference in the evening to announce the agreement,” said the report, adding that after the possible news conference Netanyahu was due to meet Kerry for dinner to discuss mainly the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Haaretz reported that even if the sides made an announcement on the agreement on June 26, the official signing would only take place in a week or two.
Turkey has three demands from Israel to normalize the strained ties. Turkey’s first demand, an apology, was met in 2013 when Netanyahu delivered his “regrets” over the loss of lives.
The second demand is Israel paying compensation to the families of the victims.
“Under the agreement, Israel will deposit some $20 million in a humanitarian fund as compensation for the families of the Turks who were killed and wounded during the raid on the Mavi Marmara,” said the daily.
Turkey’s third demand is the removal of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.
“As part of the agreement, Israel will enable Turkey to set up infrastructure projects in Gaza, including the construction of a hospital, a power station and a desalination facility. All the materials for these projects will be passed via Israel’s Ashdod Port,” Haaretz reported.
If a deal is announced on June 26, the agreement is expected to be brought to the Israeli security cabinet, where it is expected to be approved.