Israeli official reveals draft agreement to compensate families of those killed on the Marmara, and selling Israel’s natural gas, was reached in secret meetings with Turkish gov’t representatives in Switzerland.
By Ari Yashar
An Israeli official on Thursday revealed that “understandings” to normalize ties have been reached with Turkey, in a potential breakthrough for the strained relations that collapsed in the infamous Turkish Mavi Marmara flotilla incident in 2010.
The anonymous official told Channel 10 that incoming Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and Yosef Ciechanover, the prime minister’s head of Turkish reconciliation talks, represented Israel in the meeting with Turkish foreign ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu.
No set time was given for the implementation of the deal, but it will happen in the coming days according to the report.
Seven “understandings” were reached according to the official, starting with a return of the ambassadors.
The lawsuits against IDF soldiers over the Mavi Marmara incident are to canceled, while Israel is to establish a fund for those wounded on the flotilla.
Turkey expressed its willingness not to allow terrorist activity on its soil, and likewise Hamas leader Salah Al-Arouri who resides in Turkey and orchestrated the abduction and murder of three Israeli teens Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Sha’ar and Eyal Yifrah in the summer of 2014 will not be allowed to enter Turkey.
Another “understanding” was that Turkey will allow gas lines to pass through its territory, and discussions will begin immediately over the sale of natural gas from Israel to Turkey.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Thursday signed the controversial gas deal to mine Israel’s offshore natural gas resources.
This last point about gas trade is seen as a particularly crucial drive for the entire reconciliation, given that Russia has sanctioned Turkey over its shooting down a Russian jet last month on the Syrian border – Moscow provided 55% of Turkey’s natural gas.
Ironically the talk of rapprochement comes even as Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said there will be no reconciliation between him and Turkey, accusing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of instituting a“creeping Islamization” in the state.
How did ties breakdown?
In the Mavi Marmara incident, elite IDF soldiers were forced to board the Turkish Mavi Marmara ship, which ignored repeated warnings to stop its attempt to breach the maritime blockade on Gaza – a blockade that is legal under international law, and is meant to stop the influx of weapons to terrorist groups.
The soldiers were brutally attacked by IHH Islamist extremists on board wielding knives and metal bars, and had no choice but to open fire, killing ten of the IHH members on board. After an investigation, Israeli authorities discovered the vessel to be carrying no humanitarian aid, despite the flotilla’s claims that it was on a “humanitarian” mission.
When Israel refused Turkey’s demand that it apologize for the incident and compensate the victims’ families, Turkey cut ties with the Jewish state. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later apologized to Erdoğanover the Marmara incident, at the urging of the United States.
The sides were supposed to enter talks on compensation for the victims of the Marmara, but despite reports indicating Israel was offering extremely high sums of tens of millions of dollars, those negotiations stalled.
Erdoğan has a long history of verbally attacking Israel, and vocally supports the current wave of Arab terror in the Jewish state. Seized documents earlier this year showed Turkey cooperated with Islamic State (ISIS) by buying black market oil from it across the Syrian border.
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