By Fatma Babayeva
Normalization is being observed in relations between Turkey and Israel, whose ties were tense during the past six years.
The process of restoration of Turkish-Israeli relations is going in a positive way, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a press conference, TRT Haber news channel reported on May 31.
Relations between Israel and Turkey severed after the Freedom Flotilla incident in 2010 when a convoy of six ships, including one flying under the Turkish flag tried to approach the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid and activists on board. The flotilla was blocked and stormed by Israeli forces, resulting in a fight with Muslim activists aboard the ships, in which eight Turkish citizens were killed. The incident led to deterioration of the diplomatic relations between two countries.
Ankara laid out conditions for the normalization of the relations, stating that Israel should apologize for the Freedom Flotilla incident, pay compensation to the families of those killed and end the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
"We wanted apologies for normalization of the relations, and we got them," said Erdogan, adding that payment of the compensation is also coming to an end.
“The third condition was the lifting of the blockade [of Gaza]. There are serious problems with electricity and water supply in Palestine. We have made several proposals to solve them. Things are developing in a positive way, it seems. If we are able to solve these problems, Turkey will build schools, hospitals [in Gaza],” Erdogan said at press conference.
Previously, spokesperson for Turkey's presidential administration Ibrahim Kalin stated that the talks on normalizing the relations between Turkey and Israel continue.
He further noted that the parties have achieved serious results during the talks.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on May 30 that Israel is close to normalization of relations with Turkey, the Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported.
Netanyahu noted that the normalization of relations is in the interests of both Turkey and Israel.
Following the deterioration of relations between Russia and Turkey, some Turkish media outlets reported that Ankara and Tel-Aviv will resume the previous relations.
Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu confirmed earlier that Turkey and Israel had private talks.
In April, negotiating teams from Turkish and Israeli met in London. Following the meeting, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced that a reconciliation deal is expected to be finalized during the next round of consultations that will be held in the near future.
Fatma Babayeva is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Fatma_Babayeva
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