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Davutoglu says Turkish-Israeli relationship nears normalization

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the Turkish-Israeli relationship is closer to normalization than ever.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu attends a session at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos January 24, 2014.                     REUTERS/Ruben Sprich (SWITZERLAND  - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS)   - RTX17SM8

After almost four years of stalemate due to the deadly May 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Sunday [Feb. 9] that the Turkish-Israeli relationship is closer to normalization than ever. Stressing that the two countries have narrowed their differences in the last round of compensation talks begun in April 2013, Davutoglu said, “Compensation is not only important for its monetary value, but it is also an important indicator that we are watching out for the legal rights of our citizens. The talks for the finalization of the deal are ongoing. With the compensation paid, there would be yet another step taken toward shipping humanitarian aid to Gaza and Palestine. The apology was a historic step. It was a historic success. It will be yet another crucial step with the payment of the compensation. We are at the closest point of normalizing relations with Israel.”

While Davutoglu still expects Israel to do more about lifting the Gaza blockade, he hinted on Nov. 8 that Israel has already met Turkish conditions about it. The Turkish government put forward three conditions for Israel to meet after the Mavi Marmara incident: an official apology, compensation and lifting of the Gaza blockade. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered the apology in March 2013, and the compensation talks sounded finalized. As for the Gaza blockade, Davutoglu said, “To tell you the truth, … the change of power in Egypt has significantly impacted the developments regarding Gaza. And a significant majority of all the aid going to Gaza now is delivered through Israel. The border gate from the Egyptian side to Gaza is closed.” 

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