Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
commented on Israel's official apology
over the 2010 Marmara raid
and said "it was offered the way we wanted."
Addressing the restoration of diplomatic ties through the appointment of ambassadors he said, "We will see what will be put into practice during the process. If they move forward in a promising way, we will make our contribution. Then, there would be an exchange of ambassadors."
Turkey's official news agency Anatolia quoted Erdogan as saying that the process of removing the embargoes on Gaza has started, adding that the entry of civilian goods into Palestinian territories should expand to include all border gates.
The Turkish prime minister disclosed that officials from the two countries would work on a compensation agreement. "We took a stand but we managed to resolve the process without being (overly) intractable" he concluded.
Erdogan. Tried not to be 'intractable' (Photo: EPA)
According to Erdogan, Israel had met all of Turkey's demands apart from the issue of the Gaza blockade but noted it is starting to lift the blockade. The Turkish PM confirmed that he is scheduled to visit Gaza and the West Bank in April as part of efforts to "find a solution to the peace process."
He expressed hope that the apology will make way to a broader Mideast settlement. "I hope that common sense will prevail in order to solve the ongoing suffering and see a withdrawal to 1967 borders," he told reporters.
|Erdogan talks to reporters (Video: Reuters)|
Erdogan linked the reconciliation to Ankara's ambitions to play a more dominant role in the region.
"We are entering a new period in both Turkey and the region," said Erdogan, who plans to visit the Palestinian territories, including the Gaza Strip, next month.
"We are at the beginning of a process of elevating Turkey to a position so that it will again have a say, initiative and power, as it did in the past."
Friday saw Jerusalem and Ankara ending their diplomatic crisis after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
apologized to Erdogan over the deaths of nine Turkish citizens in the IDF
raid on the Gaza-bound Marmara ship.
The sides agreed to normalize relations and halt legal proceedings against IDF commanders and soldiers. It was also agreed that Israel
would transfer funds to a humanitarian fund that would compensate the victims' families.
The head of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), the Turkish organization which organized the flotilla to Gaza, said Israel's formal apology over the Mavi Marmara raid is a political and diplomatic success.
"We are proud of Turkey's honorable stance. The apology and the compensation are very important. We also want the naval blockade to end. The struggle will continue until the blockade is lifted," Bülent Yıldırım told the Hurriyet daily on Friday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday that all of Turkey's fundamental demands had been met with the apology from Israel.
Reuters contributed to this report
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