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Turkey and Israel very close to resuming ties

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has announced that Turkey and Israel are very close to resuming normal ties, Turkish and Israeli media reported on Sunday.

According to the Turkish Daily News, Davutoğlu revealed that: "There has recently been a momentum and new approach in compensation talks. We could say that most of the differences have been removed recently in these discussions."

Davutoğlu explained that the disagreement over the amount of compensation to be paid to the victims of the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010 has become very narrow. He said that this issue is to be discussed with the families of the victims.

The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv reported a senior official in the Israeli foreign ministry saying that "reconciliation" between the two countries is approaching, and is expected to take place this month.

According to the official, the Turkish prime minister hopes that the relations between the two countries returns to what they were in the past.

He added that: "Israel has demanded for Turkey to cancel all lawsuits against the soldiers and chiefs of the Israeli army as a condition for the resumption of relations. Israel also demanded legal action to be ratified to prevent such a move in the future."

The Turkish newspaper reported that Davutoğlu also demanded the easing of the siege of the Gaza Strip as another condition to end the impasse, stressing that the return of the Turkish ambassador to Israel is important to monitor Turkish aid to Gaza.

Israeli and Turkish newspapers recently reported that Israel has agreed to pay $20 million in compensation to the families of the Turkish victims of the Mavi Mamara raid. The Israeli prime minister had previously said that he would be ready to pay $3-4 million more.

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