Turkey and Israel reach a deal for normalizing relations

After Turkish and Israeli delegations met in Rome on June 26, it was announced that they had reached a deal for normalizing relations. This deal comes after 6 years of strained ties  following the Israeli attack on the Mari Marmara ship that was a part of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla”.

turkey israel copy

Yesterday, Turkish officials announced that they succeeded in receiving an apology from Benjamin Netanyahu, compensation for the victims of the Israeli attack, and the lifting of the Gaza maritime blockade.

Both the Turkish and the Israeli Prime Minister announced in a separate statements that the deal for the normalization of relations between the two countries had been reached.

Prime Minister of Turkey, Binali Yildrim, said that the deal will be signed tomorrow and will be followed by confirmation from the Israeli government and the Parliament of Turkey. Yildrim stated that the deal requires Israel to pay 20 million USD to the relatives of the of the Mari Marmara victims. In exchange for the compensation, Turkey will drop all claims against the Israeli soldiers who participated in the Mari Marmara attack.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, noted that the deal with Turkey is an important step for Israel. He stated that the deal will have a great impact on Israel’s economy, but stressed that the maritime blockade of the Gaza strip will remain following the deal. Netanyahu explained that blockade will remain, but Turkey will be granted access to deliver aid.

This deal to normalize ties between Turkey and Israel that has ended six years of diplomatic struggle and tensions is receiving international praise.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon hailed the deal as a “hopeful signal of stability in the region”. US State Secretary John Kerry welcomed the agreement, calling it “the step the US wanted to see”.

Mari Marmara attack

The ship Mari Marmara was a part of “Gaza Freedom Flotilla”, a mission intended to send humanitarian aid to Gaza Palestinians.

In 2010, Gaza Freedom Flotilla, including Mari Marmara, tried to break Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza strip. Israel Defense Forces (IDF) responded by attacking Mari Marmara and killing ten Turkish activists.

That attack marked the start of the six-year long tensions and strained relations between Turkey and Israel.

Dejan Scepanovic

based in Bosnia and Herzegovina. BA in political science. Columnist.