Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister has said that his country's relations with Turkey will never be completely repaired to what they were before Israel's attack on the Freedom Flotilla in May 2010 which left 9 Turkish citizens dead. "Nevertheless," said Zeev Elkin, "having smooth relations is a necessity."
Elkin told Israel Radio on Tuesday morning that improving Israeli-Turkish relations is a "priority" of the new government. He said that "everything is going to be sorted out soon" with regards to compensation for the families of the flotilla victims.
"Reconciliation with Turkey serves Israel because of the Syrian crisis, the Iranian nuclear programme and cooperation with NATO," he added, while stressing that the "personal political ambitions" of Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan will prevent a complete rapprochement between Ankara and Tel Aviv.
When asked about the Palestinian issue, Elkin said that Israel is keen to resume negotiations, but not at any price. He insisted on Israel's "right" to build settlements in the so-called "E1" area which lies between occupied Jerusalem and the Ma'ale Adumim settlement bloc. International law regards all Israeli settlements as illegal.