Turkish media reported Friday that Israel has transferred $20 million as part of the reconciliation deal involving the Marmara flotilla incident, where nine Turkish citizens were killed after those on board the Marmara attacked IDF soldiers who commandeered the vessel as it attempted to break Israel’s maritime blockade on Gaza.
The agreement between the two countries was signed last June in Italy. After vowing not to apologize for the IDF’s course of action, Netanyahu eventually acquiesced and “expressed an apology” to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2013.
In response to the apology and transfer of funds, Turkey and Israel are to resume full diplomatic relations, including reinstating ambassadors, a commitment not to work against each other’s interests in the international sphere and security and intelligence cooperation. Another signing of the diplomatic thaw between both countries was seen during the funeral of recently departed former president Shimon Peres, which was attended by Turkish Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Feridun Sinirlioglu, who played a key role in the reconciliation agreement negotiations.
The back story to the reconciliation deal spans over a decade of animosity and mutual accusations. After Israel sealed off the Gaza Port due to concerns that incoming ships would be providing the Palestinians with weapons, in 2010 the Maramara flotilla set out from Turkey toward Gaza, with the expressed purpose of providing Palestinians with humanitarian aid. When the flotilla did not heed the call of the IDF Navy to halt, troops from the special operations naval unit Shayetet 13 were sent to take it over. Several of the activists aboard the Marmara responded to the takeover by attacking the IDF soldiers with weapons. The soldiers then opened fire on the activists, killing nine and injuring 20.