A senior political source confirmed claims made by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan that a normalization agreement between Israel and Turkey was nearing, and could be expected within ten days.
Erdogan made the comments in an interview with Charlie Rose that was set to air Tuesday. A source who spoke to Yedioth Ahronoth claimed that Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to confirm the deal and bring in to a vote before the Cabinet.
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.
A senior political source confirmed the report and said that "Erdogan feels it's the right time to make peace with Israel and bring the relationship back to normal. This is definitely a positive development. Turkey is an important regional ally and it is very important to restore its relationship with Israel, especially at such a turbulent time in the Middle East."
According the Erdogan the sides reached an agreement regarding the compensation for the 2010 flotilla victims' families "as well as humanitarian aid for the Palestinians," a key demands for the Turkish.
"With the completion of that stage, we can move on to a process of normalization. I talked to my colleagues at the Foreign Ministry and I believe it's a matter of weeks – hopefully without another black cat crossing between the sides." Erdogan said.
According to the Turkish prime minister, the first step towards normalization would be the return of ambassadors to Ankara and Tel Aviv. He further the two sides were waiting for Netanyahu to bring the agreement before for the government's approval.
According to the agreement, Israel will pay Turkey $21 million that will be transferred to a humanitarian fund that will pay compensation to the families of the nine people killed on Marmara flotilla and to those who were wounded at the incident.
Turkey, in return, is committed to legislation that will promise not to prosecute IDF top commanders and Israeli seniors for their responsibility or involvement in the Marmara event.
Turkey has also committed to end the legal procedures it begun in Istanbul against four IDF commanders for their role in the raid on the Marmara: Former chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, former military intelligence head Maj.-Gen. (res) Amos Yadlin, former Navy chief Eliezer Marom and former IAF commander Brig.-Gen. Avishai Levi.
After the agreement is signed, Israel and Turkey will announce the full normalization of their relations, and move to strengthening the bonds between the two countries.
The issue of the Gaza blockade will not be a part of the agreement, however the two countries have reached a verbal agreement according to which Israel will allow Turkey to build a hospital in Gaza as well as transfer humanitarian aid.