Turkish parliament ratifies reconciliation pact with Israel

After breaking off diplomatic ties with Israel six years ago over the Mavi Marmara incident, Turkey’s parliament has ratified a reconciliation agreement, allowing for the reestablishment of official ties between the two countries.

The Turkish parliament on Saturday ratified the reconciliation agreement signed with Israel in June, ending a six-year rift between the two former allies.

The parliament’s vote is the last stage in the months-long process which enables the exchange of ambassadors, the culmination of the deal.

The Israeli Cabinet has already approved the deal.

Israel and Turkey were former close allies, but relations imploded in 2010 following the Mavi Marmara incident.

The Mavi Marmara was part of a flotilla of Turkish vessels traveling to Gaza, ostensibly to deliver humanitarian aid and medical supplies, but in reality it was an attempt to defy Israel’s sovereignty and was meant to support the Palestinian Hamas terror organization, which rules Gaza.

The only humanitarian aid found on board were boxes of expired medications.

IDF forces boarded the ship and were viciously assaulted. They killed 10 Turkish nationals while defending themselves, and several IDF soldiers suffered wounds as well.

After the raid, the countries withdrew their ambassadors, largely cut security ties and have since maintained only low-level diplomatic relations.

Under the deal’s terms, Israel and Turkey will restore full diplomatic relations.

Israel will pay $20 million in compensation for the families of people harmed in the raid, and is allowing Turkey to deliver aid to Gaza through an Israeli port and to carry out a series of development projects in Gaza, particularly in water and electricity. Israel has already enabled this, regardless of the new agreement.

In return, Turkey agreed to prevent legal claims against Israel over the raid, and to prevent any terrorism activity or fundraising in Turkey. Turkey maintains close ties with Hamas, the Islamic terror group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction and is labeled a terrorist organization by Israel and the West.

Israel “welcomes the Turkish Parliament’s decision” to approve the deal and “looks forward to the next steps of its implementation, including the return of our respective ambassadors,” the prime minister’s office stated.

Turkish lawmaker Burhan Kuzu said he did not think there will be a problem with the deal’s implementation, as Israel is dependent on Turkey’s security, he asserted. “Israel can’t afford to be against Turkey while being in a region surrounded by Arab and Islamic countries,” he claimed.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News