Israel has reached a reconciliation deal with Turkey to end a bitter six-year rift between the Mideast powers, an official said Sunday.
Relations between the former close allies imploded six years ago following an Israeli naval raid that killed nine Turkish activists, including a dual American citizen, who were on a ship trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.
In 2010, the Israeli Navy intercepted the Mavi Marmara ship as it attempted to break the blockade . The so-called human rights activists on board the ship ambushed the IDF soldiers with knives and metal rods. In the ensuing scuffle, eight Turks and one Turkish-American were killed and several IDF soldiers were severely injured. Turkey severed diplomatic ties with Israel following the incident.
Turkey’s move toward rapprochement with Israel comes amid its deepening isolation in the region following a breakdown of ties with Russia and Egypt as well as the turmoil in neighboring Syria.
The Israeli official confirmed the details of the agreement on Sunday. He spoke on condition of anonymity pending a formal announcement. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is on an official visit to Rome, is expected to announce details on Monday, and the two sides plan to sign the agreement on Tuesday.
The official said the impending deal would include $20 million in Israeli compensation for families of those killed in the raid, an end to all Turkish claims against Israeli military personnel and the state of Israel over the raid, and the mutual restoration of ambassadors.
The official said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to a separate document instructing all relevant Turkish agencies to help resolve the issue of Israel’s missing citizens, apparently referring to the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed in the 2014 Gaza war, which are believed to be held by Hamas. An Israeli of Ethiopian descent and a Bedouin from Israel’s Arab minority are also believed to be held in Gaza.
Families of the soldiers had urged the government to hold off on any reconciliation deal until their plight is addressed. Relatives of one of the soldiers, Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul, set up a protest tent outside Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem.
By: AP and United with Israel Staff
Subscribe to Our FREE Newsletter for More Great Stories Like This One
United with Israel publishes stories like this every day. We believe that our work allows a more balanced view of Israel to emerge. With so much anti-Israel media bias out there from outlets like CNN and the BBC, helping the Holy Land means getting our message out to as many people as possible.
You can help.
Subscribe to our free newsletter to ensure that you get the latest and best stories from United with Israel. Together we can make a difference, and it starts with communication.