President Erdoğan approves Israel deal

President Erdoğan approves Israel deal

President Erdoğan approves Israel deal

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan greets people at the United Solidarity and Brotherhood rally in Gaziantep, Turkey, August 28, 2016. REUTERS photo

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan approved a deal to normalize ties with Israel on Aug. 31, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.

The president sent the deal to the Prime Ministry’s Office, 12 days after it was approved by the Turkish parliament.

Israeli cabinet ministers had already approved the deal in late June but Ankara only succeeded in submitting it to parliament on Aug. 17 due to delays resulting from the failed coup attempt of July 15. 

Turkish lawmakers ratified the deal late on Aug. 19.

Meanwhile, Israel’s chargé d’affaires in Ankara, Amira Oron, said on Aug. 29 that Turkey and Israel would exchange ambassadors within the next few weeks.

On June 27, Turkey and Israel signed a deal to restore their ties, which hit an all-time low after a 2010 raid by Israeli commandos on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship that left 10 Turks dead.

Turkey demanded that a number of conditions – an apology, the payment of $20 million (17.7 million euros) in compensation and the lifting of Israel’s Gaza blockade – be fulfilled before relations could be normalized once more. Ankara now considers these terms satisfied. Israel will hand Turkey a “lump sum” payment within 25 working days of the agreement coming into force, with families of the victims able to access the funds in due course.

Both sides also agreed individual Israeli citizens or those acting on behalf of the Israeli government would not be held liable – either criminally or financially – for the raid.