Report: Israel, Turkey agree to restore full diplomatic relations

Ending five years of diplomatic tensions, Israel and Turkey have reportedly agreed on a list of issues that will pave the way to restoring full ties. 

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Israeli media reported on Friday that a preliminary agreement has been reached between Israeli and Turkish representatives who met in Ankara to end a five-year-long diplomatic rift. The sides reportedly agreed on the reconciliation between the two countries, which includes Israeli financial compensation for the families of the ten Turkish citizens killed in the Marmara raid and other topics.

In return, Turkey would drop criminal charges against senior Israeli officers and agree to deport Hamas leader Salah al-Aruri, who is directing terror operations against Israel from Istanbul.

No mention was made of a Turkish demand that Israel lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip.

The two countries also agreed to return ambassadors to each other’s capitals and would discuss building a pipeline to bring natural gas from Israel to Turkey, an unnamed Israeli official told the New York Times.

The emerging deal was announced a few days after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey told reporters that the normalization of ties with Israel “would be good for us, Israel, Palestine, and the entire region.”

Israel initially cautiously welcomed Erdogan’s signaling, saying it was up to him to finalize the issue and agree to reasonable terms.

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In the meantime, Erdogan met with Hamas leader Khaled Mashal on Saturday in Istanbul. A source from Erdogan’s office said Mashal “briefed Erdogan on the latest developments in the region”, without providing further details.

Turkey may be seeking a renewed alliance with Israel in wake of the tensions it is facing with Russia and in hope of striking a deal to acquire Israeli natural gas, which it badly needs, and especially as it stands to lose its supply from Russia.