Turkey's FM: 'Positive Developments' in Talks with Israel
Turkey’s Foreign Minister said on Thursday that compensation talks between Turkey and Israel have reached “a certain level” and that “problems have been substantially overcome.”
Ahmet Davutoglu made the comments during a press conference with Tanzanian Foreign Minister Bernard Membe and was quoted by the Hurriyet newspaper.
“Our colleagues are continuing the talks. I’d like to underline that we have seen positive developments,” added Davutoglu.
He cited Turkey’s preconditions for normalization of relations with Israel and once again mentioned “lifting restrictions on the whole of Palestine, including Gaza,” an apology for the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, and compensation for the victims of the incident.
“The apology has been received, and the compensation talks have reached a certain level,” Davutoglu said, according to the Hurriyet.
He declined to comment on the exact amount of money that the Israeli government will pay to the families.
The parties will announce the details of the agreement when the process is finalized, he added.
“We hope [the issue] will be solved as soon as possible within the principle framework that Turkey outlined,” Davutoglu said.
The Mavi Marmara, which claimed to international media to be providing "humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza," was the largest ship in the flotilla aimed at breaking Israel's Gaza blockade on May 31, 2010.
The ship defied orders to turn around and dock at the Ashdod port. After it ignored repeated warnings to change course, the IDF boarded the vessel - only to be attacked by Islamist extremists on board.
The soldiers had no choice but to open fire, resulting in the deaths of nine of the activists on board.
After an investigation, Israeli authorities discovered the vessel to be carrying no humanitarian aid - in fact, no aid supplies at all - whatsoever.
When Israel refused Turkey’s demands to apologize for raiding the Marmara, Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Israel and expelled the Israeli ambassador in Ankara.
It was under pressure from U.S. President Barack Obama that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologized last March to Erdogan for the deaths of the activists on the Marmara and talks began on the compensation agreement.
Since that time, there have been several reports that a deal was near, the last such report coming on April 28, when Erdogan announced that Israel and Turkey had reached an agreement regarding the Marmara compensation.