Israel and Turkey Close to a Compensation Deal
Turkish and Israeli officials have come "close" to a deal on compensation for the 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla after talks in Jerusalem on Monday, AFP reports.
"The meeting was positive," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office said in a statement.
"The two teams have a project but clarifications are still needed on some issues. The two sides expect to reach an accord in the near future," it said, without giving details.
Channel 10 News also reported of a positive meeting at the foreign ministry.
"An accord has not yet been signed but most questions have been settled. The number of outstanding points is so limited that it's not sure another meeting is needed," the report said, quoting diplomatic sources.
A final deal is "very close," it said.
An initial meeting in Ankara on April 22 focused on the amount and the terms of Israel's payment of compensation to the families of nine Turkish nationals who died in the raid, which Turkey has named as a precondition for normalization of diplomatic ties.
It was the first stage of what Turkish officials have said would be a multi-step diplomatic process aimed at reinstating bilateral ties between the former close allies who fell out over the raid.
Monday's talks saw Turkish diplomats pay their first official visit to Israel for the first time in three years since Israeli commandos staged a raid on a six-ship flotilla seeking to violate Israel's naval blockade of Gaza, claiming they were carrying humanitarian aid for the region. The nine Turks were killed on the Mavi Marmara.
The Israeli negotiating team was led by National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror and special liaison for Turkish reconciliation Joseph Ciechanover, an official told AFP.
Following the first round of talks, Ankara said "initial parameters" were set and a framework established, but the amount of compensation was still to be discussed.
Compensation talks finally began in late March, after Israel extended a formal apology to Turkey to get the rocky relations back on track.
Netanyahu, in addition to the apology, agreed to compensate the families of the nine Turks, while Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to cancel the legal proceedings his country launched against IDF officials.
The families of the dead activists, who were members of the IHH pro-terror group, want to receive $1 million each. Israel is reportedly prepared to pay no more than $150,000 to each family.
One of the flotilla participants from the Mavi Marmara has already indicated he would give all the compensation money he receives to Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists.