Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc is set to lead the negotiating team in talks with Israel next week and hopes to soon restore ties.
Arinc told the Hebrew-language NRG news site on Wednesday, “Turkey anticipates full restoration of relations with Israel. I will lead the Turkish delegation for negotiations with Israel next week on restitution for the nine Mavi Marmara victims.”
Arinc was referring to the second of three conditions set by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for restoration of ties between the two former allies -- the issue of financial compensation from the Jewish State to the families of those who attacked IDF soldiers boarding the Mavi Marmara to bring it in to Ashdod port. The vessel was one of six that attempted in May 2010 to illegally break Israel's maritime blockade of Gaza.
The talks were scheduled after Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met the first demand, a formal apology over the incident in which the nine attackers -- eight of whom were Turkish nationals -- were killed.
The blockade of Gaza is a national security measure maintained by Israel to prevent smuggling of weaponry and other arms to the terrorist-controlled region for use in attacks on her citizens. This raises the third, and most complex issue – and the one most likely to torpedo the chance for restoration of relations between the two countries – Erdogan’s demand that Israel lift its blockade of Gaza. Many in Israel consider the demand to be an intrusion into the country's domestic affairs, if not an attempted, indirect attack on its national security.
Erdogan, who leads Turkey’s ruling Islamist AK party, is a passionate supporter of Hamas, which controls and governs the Gaza region with an iron fist. He has announced he will personally visit Gaza next month following talks on May 16 in Washington with U.S. President Barack Obama. Last month Erdogan was politely warned by the State Department to stay out of Gaza, and "not to engage with Hamas," which is listed in the U.S. officially as a foreign terrorist organization.
Supporters of Hamas danced in the streets to celebrate in Gaza following the September 11, 2001 attack on America by the Al Qaeda terrorist organization that destroyed four alirliners, the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center and seriously damaged the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. More than 3,000 people died in the attacks.
On Monday, Israel's Memorial Day and the eve of Israel's Independence Day, two terrorist bombs ripped through a crowd of half a million people at the Boston Marathon in Massachusetts. Unconfirmed reports said supporters of Hamas and other terror organizations once again took to the streets on Monday to celebrate following the Boston Marathon bomber's terror attack on America.