Turkish parliament to ratify Israel deal before recess: FM

Turkish parliament to ratify Israel deal before recess: FM

Turkish parliament to ratify Israel deal before recess: FM

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the a weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on August 11, 2016. AFP photo

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said the Turkish parliament will approve a deal to normalize ties with Israel before it goes into its summer recess later this month.

“I think we will finalize this work before the parliament goes into the summer recess,” Çavuşoğlu said in a televised interview with private broadcaster NTV.

In June, 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 which left 10 Turks dead.

Israel had already offered compensation and an apology over the raid but with an agreement it also eased the naval blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza, allowing Ankara to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians there.  

Çavuşoğlu acknowledged parliament had so far not taken up the deal with Israel because of time pressure created by the July 15 coup attempt by rogue elements within the military seeking to unseat the government, which Turkey blames on U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

But he insisted that it would appear on parliament’s agenda before the recess, which is due to start at the end of next week before parliament returns in mid-September.

“Israel has lived up to our conditions. We said, ‘If the conditions are fulfilled, we’ll normalize ties.’ So we must implement it as soon as possible,” he added.

Only once the deal is ratified by parliament will Turkey and Israel begin the process of exchanging ambassadors to fully restore their diplomatic ties.