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Erdogan: Reconciliation with Israel could happen within days or weeks

Turkish prime minister tells Charlie Rose that Ankara and Jerusalem have agreed on compensation for Marmara victims' families, humanitarian aid to the Palestinians.

Attila Somfalvi
Published: 04.29.14, 14:27 / Israel News

The signing of a reconciliation agreement between Turkey and Israel could happen in a matter of days or weeks, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with Charlie Rose that was set to air Tuesday.

 

Turkey and Israel's relations have gone sour after a 2010 IDF raid on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship attempting to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip. Nine Turkish citizens were killed in the raid.

 

Since the incident, Erdogan has been incessantly attacking Israel and demanding it to apologize. The two countries called back their ambassadors, and all official ties between Jerusalem and Ankara have been severed.

 

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During a clip published online ahead of the interview's broadcast, Erdogan said the two sides have reached an agreement on compensation for the death of nine Turkish citizens.

 

A similar agreement has been reached on Turkey delivering humanitarian aid to the Palestinians in the future, the Turkish prime minister said.

 

According to Erdogan, upon the signing of this agreement, Ankara and Jerusalem could "move toward a process of normalization."

 

The first step towards the resumption of ties between the two countries would be returning the ambassadors to Ankara and Tel Aviv.

 

Several months ago, the two sides have reached an agreement on $120 million dollars in compensation to the families of the nine killed Turks. In return, Turkey was supposed to relinquish the possibility of putting those responsible for the army raid on trial, and to work to prevent private lawsuits of that nature.

 

But ahead of the signing of the accord, Israeli officials said at the time, Erdogan backed out of the deal and announced there will be no signing until Israel removes its "blockade" of Gaza and declares its commitment to do so in writing.

 

Erdogan also expressed his gratitude to US President Barack Obama for his efforts to get Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to apologize to Turkey in March 2013 for the Marmara incident.

 

The agreement currently awaits approval from both countries.

 

The Hürriyet Daily News reported Monday that Netanyahu has been stalling the approval of the agreement, that has already been finalized, due to "domestic political concerns."

 

But an Israeli official familiar with the reconciliation talks with Turkey said that "the problem is not with Prime Minister Netanyahu, but with the Turks. Israel has no interest in preventing an agreement with the Turks and there's nothing limiting the prime minister."

 

The source added that despite reports in Turkey and Erdogan's comments, at present there is no change in the situation between Turkey and Israel and that it is unclear where these comments and reports were coming from as most of the details of the agreement have been agreed upon several months ago.

 

Ynetnews contributed to this report.

 

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