Israel, Turkey Reach Agreement to Restore Diplomatic Ties
Israel and Turkey have reached an agreement to restore diplomatic ties, ending five years of strained relations, Ha’aretz reported Thursday.
The understanding was reached in Zurich, Switerzland by Joseph Ciechanover, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s personal envoy to Turkey; Israeli National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen; and Turkish Foreign Ministry Under-Secretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu.
The crisis in relations between the two countries was exacerbated by the IDF’s 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara. The ship, which was under the control of the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation—a group designated as a terror organization by the Netherlands andGermany—was part of a flotilla attempting to break Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. After the IDF boarded the Mavi Marmara, they were attacked by members of the crew. Ten crew members were killed in the ensuing fight, and several Israeli soldiers were injured. The other ships in the flotilla were diverted without incident. Israel has agreed to pay $20 million in compensation for those killed or injured in the raid, and Turkey will pass a law annulling any further legal claims against any IDF personnel stemming from the incident.
As a result of the deal, Turkey and Israel will restore full diplomatic relations and return ambassadors to Tel Aviv and Ankara, respectively. Turkey will also expel Salah al-Arouri, a senior Hamas official based in Turkey who directed the terror group’s operations in the West Bank. In recent years, many top Hamas officials have taken refuge in Turkey where they have been able to operate in the open, but Turkey has agreed to crack down on Hamas’ operations in its territory.
After the agreement is finalized, Israel will begin selling natural gas to Turkey and will lay a pipeline through which Israel will be able to export natural gas to Europe.
The announcement of the understanding comes nearly three years after President Barack Obama facilitated a phone call between
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