Turkish PM: Progress Made in Talks With Israel, but No Deal Yet

Davutoglu claims Israel expressed willingness to 'loosen blockade' on Gaza, day after Netanyahu says issues of Gaza and Hamas still mar potential deal.

AFP

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Sunday that progress has been made in reconciliation talks with Israel, but there "is no deal  yet."

According to the Hürriyet daily, Davutoglu told his Justice and Development Party (AKP) that Israel has taken a number of positive steps regarding the issues of lifting the blockade on Gaza and Turkey's demand that Israel pay compensation to the families of those killed during the Israeli army raid on the Gaza flotilla in May 2010. 

"They are not warm to totally lifting the blockade of Gaza, but they have arrived at a point where they assume they can loosen the blockade for Turkey," Davutoglu said.

“[Israeli officials] state that they might not prevent assistance sent to Palestine. As for the compensation - there are international standards on this matter; we seek accord with these standards. There is flexibility on this issue, too, on the part of Israel,” Davutoglu added, noting nonetheless, that a deal would fail to materialize if Israel does not make good on its part of the agreement.

According to the Turkish prime minister, Israel renewed its desire to rehabilitate ties between the two countries after the AKP won the Turkish elections on November 1.

"They have relented in regards to certain issues when they saw that the AK Party would stay in power until 2019,” he said.

His comments came amid reports of progress in talks between the two countries.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a meeting of his Likud Knesset faction on Monday that several hurdles must still be overcome before a reconciliation agreement is signed. “There are ongoing talks with Turkey, but there are no understandings, and we’re not there yet,” he said, according to a senior government official who was present at the meeting.

Netanyahu reportedly added that the sides are still at odds over Hamas’ activities in Turkey and Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Over the weekend, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Israel had fulfilled only one of Turkey’s three conditions for restoring normal relations: apologizing for the death of 10 Turkish nationals in a botched raid on a Turkish-sponsored flotilla to Gaza in 2010. He said the other two conditions – paying compensation to the families of those killed and ending the blockade of Gaza – had not yet been satisfied.