Turkey, Israel sign deal to normalize ties

Turkey, Israel sign deal to normalize ties

Turkey, Israel sign deal to normalize ties

Turkish flag flutters atop the Turkish embassy as an Israeli flag is seen nearby, in Tel Aviv, Israel June 26, 2016. REUTERS photo

Ankara and Tel Aviv signed a deal to normalize ties on June 28 after six years of strained relations.

The director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold, signed the deal in Tel Aviv private broadcaster CNN Türk has reported, while Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu signed the accord for the Turkish side in Ankara, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.

Turkish and Israeli prime ministers announced on June 27 that a deal to bring an end to the strained ties between the two countries had been reached and a deal would be signed on June 28. 

Relations between Turkey and Israel had come to a halt after Israeli commandoes killed 10 Turkish pro-Palestinian activists on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla in May 2010, as activists tried to breach an Israel’s Gaza blockade.

Attempts to mend ties were initiated in 2015 when delegations from two sides met for the first time. Negotiations were conducted throughout 2016 until June 26, when the two sides met in Rome to agree on the latest draft of the agreement. 

According to the deal, Israel will pay $20 million in compensation to the relatives of the Mavi Marmara victims. 

In exchange for the compensation, all claims against Israeli soldiers in Turkey will be dropped. As the deal will be an international agreement approved by the parliament, it will be positioned above domestic law and all charges against Israeli navy officers will need to be dropped.

Turkey obtained aid concessions to be reached to Palestine, with a vessel carrying 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid setting off on July 1 from Turkey to Israel’s Ashdod port. 

While Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said the embargo on Gaza would “largely be lifted under the leadership of Turkey,” Israeli Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that his country’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip would remain following the agreement. 

The construction of a new power station and a desalination plant for drinking water was also among the deals agreed upon in the deal.