Progress reported in Israel-Turkey talks

Officials say progress was made in meeting between Israeli and Turkish teams, but some issues still remain to be solved.

Nitsan Keidar ,

Billboards with pictures of Erdogan and Netanyahu in Ankara
Billboards with pictures of Erdogan and Netanyahu in Ankara

Turkey and Israel are making progress in rapprochement talks, but some issues still need to be resolved, diplomatic sources told Arutz Sheva on Thursday evening.

The Israeli team for talks with Turkey, including the prime minister's envoy Joseph Ciechanover and Acting National Security Adviser Yaakov Nagal returned to Israel earlier, after meeting with the Turkish team in Switzerland.

According to the officials, discussions between the parties went well and further progress was recorded. The officials noted, however, that some matters still remain open and will be discussed in a further meeting between the parties that will take place soon.

Recent reports indicated that Israel and Turkey had reached "understandings" to normalize ties that were downgraded following the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident.

Turkish officials, however, downplayed the reports, and a spokesman for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later ruled out any chances of a rapprochement with Israel, saying any normalization with Israel would be conditioned on the lifting of the blockade on Gaza - which Israel has imposed to restrict the flow of weapons to Hamas and other terrorist organizations there.

Even amid the talks Turkey is planning a $5 billion project to reconstruct Gaza, and prime among the plans is a major seaport for the Hamas enclave. The Israeli government has firmly opposed such a seaport, given the blatant danger of it being used to smuggle in weapons.

Turkey likewise continues to give its open support to the Hamas terrorist organization, which calls for the genocide of Jews in its very charter.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon expressed pessimism about the rapprochement talks with Turkey and said they were unlikely to succeed, because Ankara is refusing to address Israel's demand that it stop supporting Hamas.

"I'm not sure that we'll reach an agreement," he said, adding, "The Turks need to agree to our conditions so that we can get over the obstacles and reach a political agreement."

"Turkey is hosting senior Hamas officials in Istanbul, and we are not ready to accept that. The Turks support Hamas generally through the Muslim Brotherhood and that must be discussed," continued Ya’alon.