Netanyahu condemns Ankara attack

In what some see as a sign that relations with Turkey are improving, Netanyahu expresses solidarity with Turkey following Ankara bombing.

Elad Benari ,

Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Emil Salman/Haaretz/Flash 90

In what could be interpreted as another sign that rapprochement with Turkey is close, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday night issued a statement condemning the suicide car bombing in Ankara which killed more than 30 people.

A statement from his office said that Netanyahu “condemns the large-scale terrorist attack in Ankara in which innocent citizens lost their lives and many dozens were injured.”

“Israel expresses solidarity with the Turkish people in the war against terrorism and calls on the international community to unite in the fight against terrorism,” the statement from the Prime Minister's Office added.

The statement comes amid continued reports that Turkey and Israel are closer than ever to restoring ties that were cut in 2010 following the Mavi Marmara incident.

Recent reports indicated that Israel and Turkey had reached "understandings" to normalize the ties that were downgraded when IHH Islamists on board the Marmara refused to heed Israeli orders to turn the ship around and dock at the Ashdod Port instead of Gaza.

When the ship insisted on continuing to Gaza, IDF soldiers had no choice but to board it, upon which they were attacked by the Islamists, forcing them to open fire.

Turkey cut off ties with Israel when it refused to apologize for the incident and pay compensation to the families of those who were killed on the ship. Netanyahu has since apologized to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan under pressure from the United States.

Recently, diplomatic sources said the sides were making progress in rapprochement talks, but some issues still need to be resolved.

Two weeks ago, Turkey's Foreign Minister said the two countries may announce a reconciliation agreement “within days”.

Issues of contention between the sides are reportedly the demand for compensation as well as Turkey's demand for a major seaport in Hamas-controlled Gaza as part of a $5 billion project to reconstruct  the enclave.

The Israeli government has firmly opposed such a seaport, given the danger of it being used to smuggle in weapons. In fact, Major General Yoav Mordechai, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), recently made clear that Israel is not conducting any negotiations on the establishment of a seaport in Gaza.