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Turkey-Israel talks reach final stages

Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid ship [file photo]
Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid ship [file photo]

The ongoing talks on the normalisation of relations between Turkey and Israel have reached the final stage, the spokesman for the Turkish presidency revealed yesterday.

Speaking at a press conference in the Turkish capital Ankara, Ibrahim Kalin said an agreement would be signed to normalise relations after a final settlement is reached on the two final conditions set by Turkey: lifting the siege on Gaza and the compensation being paid to the families of those killed on the Mavi Marmara.

Turkish-Israeli relations were strained in 2010 when Israeli military forces assaulted international activists, including Turks, who were on board the Mavi Marmara ship. The activists were attempting to lift the Israeli siege on Gaza. A number of Turkish activists were killed during the Israeli forces’ attack.

Turkey has set a number of conditions on the return of relations with Israel, including receiving an apology for the killing of Turkish activists, paying compensation to the victims’ families, in addition to lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry announced last month that talks are ongoing with the Israeli side on the restoration relations, but the pending point that still hinders reaching a settlement is the Turkish condition to lift the blockade on Gaza, which Israel rejects.

Israeli newspapers have said that Egypt is putting pressure on Tel Aviv to prevent any Turkish role in the Gaza Strip. Egypt refuses to open the Rafah border crossing to Palestinians.

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