Erdogan: Much to gain from normalization w/Israel

Turkey takes steps toward Israel, still demands compensation for 'victims' of the Mavi Marmara raid, lifting of naval blockade on Gaza.

Arutz Sheva staff ,

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told journalists during a flight from Turkmenistan that "normalization with Israel" was possible if a compensation deal is worked out for the "victims" of the Mavi Marmara raid, and if Israel lifts the naval blockade on Gaza.

According to the newspaper Yeni Safak, Erdogan said: "There is so much the region could gain from such a normalization process."

Erdogan said two weeks ago that he thinks it would be possible to repair the strained ties between his country and Israel, in light of the events in the region.

Erdogan made the comments to a Kol Yisrael radio reporter on the sidelines of the UN climate conference in Paris, but he did not provide further clarifications.

Israel-Turkey relations have been strained for years as Turkey under Erdogan has become more and more Islamist.

The relations broke down completely following the 2010 flotilla to Gaza, when elite IDF soldiers boarded the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship, which claimed to be providing "humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza," and ignored repeated warnings to change course. The soldiers were brutally attacked by IHH Islamist extremists on board and had no choice but to open fire, killing nine of the IHH members on board. After an investigation, Israeli authorities discovered the vessel to be carrying no humanitarian aid

When Israel refused Turkey’s demand that it apologize for the incident and compensate the victims’ families, Turkey cut ties with the Jewish state.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later apologized to Erdogan over the Marmara incident, at the urging of the United States.

The sides were supposed to enter talks on compensation for the victims of the Marmara, but those have stalled.