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MIDEAST > Turkey, Israel hold fresh flotilla compensation talks

JERUSALEM - Agence France-Presse

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An Israeli delegation held initial talks with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister focused on compensation for the deadly 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, on April 22, 2013 in Ankara. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

An Israeli delegation held initial talks with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister focused on compensation for the deadly 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, on April 22, 2013 in Ankara. AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Turkish and Israeli officials were meeting in Jerusalem on Monday for another round of talks over compensation for the Jewish state's deadly 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, an Israeli official told AFP.

Foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the negotiations started at midday (0900 GMT) at the ministry's Jerusalem headquarters, although they were being run by officials from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's bureau.

An initial meeting in Ankara on April 22 focused on the amount and the terms of Israel's payment of compensation to the families of nine Turkish nationals who died in the raid, which Turkey has named as a precondition for normalisation of diplomatic ties.

It was the first stage of what Turkish officials have said would be a multi-step diplomatic process aimed at reinstating bilateral ties between the former close allies who fell out over the raid.

Monday's talks saw Turkish diplomats paying their first official visit to Israel for the first time in three years since Israeli commandos staged a botched pre-dawn raid on a six-ship flotilla seeking to bust Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli negotiating team is being led by National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror and special liaison for Turkish reconciliation Joseph Ciechanover, an official told AFP.

"The two teams will discuss moving forward towards full normalisation of relations," he said.

Following the first round of talks, Ankara said "initial parameters" were set and a framework established, but the amount of compensation was still to be discussed.

The maritime assault severely wrecked relations between the former regional allies, with Ankara demanding a formal apology and compensation for the families of the raid victims, as well as the lifting of Israel's blockade on Gaza.

Compensation talks finally began in late March, after Israel extended a formal apology to Turkey to get the rocky relations back on track.

May/06/2013

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