Senior Israeli and Turkish officials met Monday in Ankara to discuss compensation payments for the victims of a 2010 Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, a key Turkish demand in the restoration of ties between the two former allies.
Negotiators hope these talks will start the process of restoring full diplomatic relations, which soured after the raid that killed eight Turks and a Turkish-American.
The negotiations come exactly one month after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and apologized for the fatal raid. During that conversation, which was endorsed by United States President Barack Obama, the two prime ministers agreed to restore normal relations between their countries and return their ambassadors to each other's countries.
Turkey has since warned that this would be dependent on compensation and on Israel's ending restrictions against the Palestinians.
The talks on Monday will focus on two issues: the amount of reparations Israel will pay the families of the Turkish citizens killed in the flotilla to the Gaza Strip in May 2010 and Turkey’s cessation of all legal proceedings initiated against Israeli soldiers and officers since the raid on the Mavi Marmara ship.
The Israeli delegation that will travel to Ankara for the talks will include Netanyahu’s special envoy for Turkish affairs, former Director General of the Foreign Ministry Joseph Ciechanover, and National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror. The two officials are expected to meet Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc and Turkey’s Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry Feridun Sinirlioglu. Amidror and Ciechanover will return to Israel on Monday evening.
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