Israeli delegation set for talks on compensation for killing of 9 Turks on board Mavi Marmara
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
The Mavi Marmara vessel is seen under maintenance at a shipyard in Istanbul. An Israeli delegation will visit Turkey for the first time in three years. REUTERS photoAn Israeli delegation is set to arrive in Turkey today for talks with Turkish officials concerning the compensation to be paid to the families of victims of an Israeli raid on an aid flotilla in 2010.
The meeting between the Turkish officials led by Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and Yaakov Amidror, the head of Israel’s National Security Council, was originally scheduled to be held around 10 days ago. In an attempt to dismiss speculation about the delay, Turkish officials cited the fact that Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, who has the role of coordinator in the compensation talks, would not have been able to effectively contribute as he was in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek at the time, which has a considerable time zone difference with Ankara. Israeli prime minister’s special envoy Joseph Ciechanover is expected to accompany Amidror at today’s negotiations, during which the Turkish side expect that the exact amount Israel will pay will be clarified. The frozen relationship between Turkey and Israel, after the latter’s deadly 2010 attack that killed nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists on an aid ship bound for the Gaza Strip, has recently seen a thaw after the Israeli prime minister apologized for the raid. Compensation to the victims of the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara ship and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s apology to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan were Turkey’s core conditions for normalizing ties between the once strong allies. However, days before the Israeli mission’s arrival, families of the victims spoke out against compensation, saying the Jewish state must first fully lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, Ankara has dismissed a news report on British daily Sunday Times, suggesting that the Israeli delegation will also hold talks about using a Turkish airbase to train for a possible attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. “The report seems to have explained a hypothesis,” a Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday concerning The Sunday Times report published on the same day.