President Erdoğan says Turkey awaiting Israeli response on Gaza proposals
AA photoTurkey has asked for permission from Israel to construct energy and water transfer infrastructure in Gaza, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, noting that the Israeli government’s initial responses had been positive amid expectations that ties would soon be normalized between the two countries.
“I suppose I expect that something will happen this month. It’s my wish that we’ll reach a conclusion in a short time,” President Erdoğan told a news program broadcast by A Haber late May 19.
Turkey and Israel have long been negotiating over an agreement that would mend the ties that were strained after the Mavi Marmara crisis in 2010. Israel issued a formal apology to Turkey and agreed to pay compensation to the families of the 10 Turkish victims of the incident, but a more comprehensive bargain over the end to the blockade on Gaza has been continuing.
“In regards to [lifting] the embargo, they say, ‘We are open to allowing goods into Gaza through Turkey, but we are not open to those coming from places other than Turkey.’ But the problem is not only this. We have some other demands,” Erdoğan said.
Turkey’s three demands from Israel
Turkey’s first demand is to provide continuous energy to Gaza as the enclave has only three to four hours of electricity per day, the president said, adding that Turkey’s proposal to provide electricity to the Gazan people through a naval vessel was rejected by Israel. “But they have proposed something else: We told them that we are ready to construct all the infrastructure [of energy]. They looked positively at this proposal.”
Turkey’s second demand is to provide water to Gaza by either desalinating the sea water or drilling wells, he said. “There are positive developments with regard to this issue as well.”
Erdoğan said Turkey’s third demand from Israel was on construction projects inside the Gaza region. “Our third offer is about constructing schools and hospitals. The construction of a hospital has been completed and necessary equipment is being provided. ‘These must be done,’ we told them. ‘If these would be done, then we’ll immediately appoint ambassadors and improve our relations in the right direction.”
Turkish and Israeli diplomats are expected to meet in the near future to finalize the agreement between the two countries.