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Turkey and Israel at loggerheads over compensation and other issues

February 15, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Huge gaps have opened up between Turkey and Israel over the amount of compensation for the Mavi Marmara families as well as Israel’s position towards the Palestinians, Syrians and Kurds, media reports have claimed.

Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said that Turkey wants Israel to pay $1 million to each family of the victims of Israel’s murderous assault on the Freedom Flotilla in 2010. Israel, however, is only willing to pay $100,000 per family and claims that in earlier discussions Turkey agreed to accept even less than that. Following talks between Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, it was agreed to form a joint committee to deal with this issue.

Regarding the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, the newspaper said that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that Israel had agreed to lift the siege as one of the three conditions Turkey had imposed on Israel for the normalisation of relations between Ankara and Tel Aviv. They were an explicit apology, compensation and the end of the siege. Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper said that Erdogan’s planned visit to Gaza is “part of the process” of getting the blockade lifted. However, reports in Israel claim that he is under pressure from the US to delay his visit.

According to Hurriyet, the US State Department’s acting deputy spokesman, Patrick Ventrell, said that America “urges all those wishing to provide international humanitarian support to Gaza to do so through established channels, to ensure that the Palestinians’ humanitarian needs and Israel’s legitimate security needs are both met.” Israel’s Haaretz, meanwhile, said that Turkish diplomats believe that it is possible for a senior Turkish delegate to visit Israel to arrange for Erdogan to visit Gaza if the compensation issue is sorted out.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah is opposed to Erdogan’s visit to Gaza because “it will deepen Palestinian divisions”, claims the Jerusalem Post.

Differences between Israel and Turkey over Syria revolve around Ankara’s support for the opposition to Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, which includes “Islamist groups”. Haaretz also reports that Israel is concerned about who will have sovereignty over Syria after the revolution. A Turkish official told the newspaper that Israel’s importance in this issue lies with providing intelligence, “but not in managing the war”. The recent rapprochement between the Turkish government and the Kurdish Workers’ Party is also a cause of concern to Israel, it is alleged.