Turkey submits Israel deal to parliament for approval
ANKARAThe Prime Ministry submitted to parliament on Aug. 17 an agreement to normalize ties with Israel, which had been delayed by the failed July 15 military coup attempt, the state-run Anadolu Agency said.
On June 28, Turkey and Israel signed a deal to restore their ties, which hit an all-time low after the 2010 raid by Israeli commandos on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship that left 10 Turks dead.
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.
The text of the agreement submitted to parliament with the signatures of the prime minister and several cabinet ministers reaffirms that Israel will pay Turkey $20 million (17.8 million euros) in compensation within 25 days.
The legal case targeting the Israeli commandos who staged the raid will also be dropped, the report said.
Individual Israeli nationals will also not be held criminally or financially liable for the incident.
Israeli cabinet ministers in June approved the deal reached, leaving Ankara to take the final ratification step.
The Turkish government failed to send the deal to parliament because of time pressure created by the failed coup attempt by rogue elements in the military, which Turkey blames on U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gülen.
On Aug. 11, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu during a televised interview vowed that the Turkey-Israel deal would be signed before September, finalized by the Turkish Parliament “as soon as possible.”
Turkey is eager to contribute to the Palestinian issue and the Middle East peace process, Çavuşoğlu said at the time, speaking at a joint news conference after meeting Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad al-Maliki in Ankara.
He said Ankara had always advocated a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue and would “continue to contribute to permanent peace in the region.”
“Now we have started a normalization process with Israel. According to our latest agreement, the two countries will mutually appoint ambassadors. After this step, we will continue to support the Palestinian issue and the Middle East peace process,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Once the normalization deal is ratified by parliament, Turkey and Israel will begin the process of exchanging ambassadors to fully restore their diplomatic ties.
Israel had already offered compensation and an apology over the raid, but with the agreement it also eased the naval blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, allowing Ankara to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians there.
Turkey also plans to build a hospital in Gaza and intensify efforts for an industrial zone project in Janin.
The Israel-Turkey normalization was followed by Turkey‘s mending ties with Russia, following a jet-downing crisis in November last year, as part of a deliberate effort in Ankara to overcome its diplomatic isolation of recent years.
On Aug 15, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım also said the time had come for Turkey to mend relations with Syria after taking steps for rapprochement with Israel and Russia, vowing that Ankara would bid to overcome the Syrian problem together with regional actors.