Talks with Israel advancing toward final step, Turkey says
AA photoThe normalization of relations with Israel is expected to begin as negotiations between the two countries advance toward the final step, Turkish presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said April 25.
“We are reaching the last period of negotiations that have been continuing with Israel. There is a negotiation being carried out in line with the conditions laid out by Turkey. Now we are reaching its end. A new contact is being planned in the near future. After a final agreement is made on the last two articles about reparations and the blockade [on Gaza], the signing of the deal and the process for normalization of relations are expected,” said Kalın, adding that the steps for the “improvement of humanitarian conditions in Gaza and Palestinian soil that are crucial” to Turkey are also expected to be taken rapidly in this regard.
Meanwhile, the Turkish and Israeli negotiating teams, headed by the undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Feridun Sinirlioğlu; the Israeli prime minister’s special envoy, Joseph Ciechanover; and the acting chairman of the National Security Council, Gen. Jacob Nagel, met in London on April 8, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said. When the London meeting took place, the two teams decided to hold their next meeting “in a few weeks,” Israeli diplomatic sources told the Hürriyet Daily News on April 25.
Turkish and Israeli officials initiated diplomatic talks to mend the strained ties between the two countries in 2015. After years of bitter accusations and rhetoric, the two sides held secret talks in December 2015 on rapprochement, with another round taking place in February in Geneva. NATO member Turkey was a key regional ally of Israel until the two cut ties in 2010 over the deadly storming by Israeli commandos of a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza, which left 10 Turkish activists dead.