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The rocky road to Turkish, Israeli reconciliation

Turkey and Israel have much to gain from normalizing their relations, but recent reports to that effect should be met with caution.
Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu addresses the media in Ankara, Turkey, October 16, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTS4Q7Z

On Dec. 17, Israeli media outlets reported that Turkey and Israel will soon normalize relations. While this is good news for a region that only makes headlines for tragic events, actual normalization in Turkish-Israeli relations may prove elusive.

The five-point memorandum of understanding negotiated between Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu and Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold looks promising: Ankara and Tel Aviv would restore full diplomatic relations and exchange ambassadors; Israel would pay $20 million to the families of the victims of the May 2010 Mavi Marmara raid; Turkey would pass a law ending all current and future legal cases against Israeli soldiers involved in Mavi Marmara; the two sides would begin negotiations on exporting Israeli natural gas to Turkey; and finally — and perhaps most important — Turkey would expel high-ranking Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri and curtail the activities of the militant Palestinian group on its territory.

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