Israel-Turkey Reconciliation Deal May Be Concluded on June 26, Turkish Officials Confirm

Compromise reached on Turkish demands regarding Gaza: Blockade won't be lifted and Turkish aid will only arrive through Ashdod port, while Israel will approve Turkish aid projects and will remove restrictions on the entry of supplies and equipment from Turkey to Gaza.

AFP

Turkish officials told the "Hurriyet Daily News" that Israeli and Turkish negotiating teams will likely conclude a reconciliation deal during their June 26 meeting at an unnamed European capital. The Turkish officials' comments confirm what senior officials in Jerusalem have said in recent days.

Turkey will be represented by Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, who has conducted negotiations with Israel on Turkey's behalf in recent years. Israel will be represented by chief negotiator Joseph Ciechanover, the prime minister's envoy who has followed the affair from the start, and deputy national security adviser Jacob Nagel. The meeting is aimed to pass a final draft agreement and confirm that there is an agreement an all matters.

However, senior Israeli officials note that the agreement's official ratification will likely occur a few weeks later, most likely in July, and will will formally end the crisis in relations that erupted after nine Turkish civilians were killed by Israeli naval commandos on the Turkish flotilla to Gaza in May 2010. The agreement will be signed by Sinirlioğlu on behalf of Turkey and Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold on behalf of Israel. In the time between the agreement's announcement, expected to occur on Sunday, and the official signing of the deal, each side will implement various measures needed to implement the reconciliation deal.

The senior Turkish officials told Hurriyet that immediately after the reconciliation agreement is officially signed in July, the process to normalize ties will begin. Ambassadors will be appointed and diplomatic relations will be raised to the highest level. According to the officials, the two countries will lift sanctions and restrictions with regard to international agreements, as well as joint military exercises, energy cooperation and import and export of defense equipment.

The senior Turkish officials added that Israel and Turkey have reached a compromise on the third condition posed by Ankara – lifting the siege on Gaza. Turkey in effect gave up on a full elimination of the siege on Gaza and the easing of the maritime blockade. As per the agreement, Turkey can send aid to Gaza but it has to pass through Israel's Ashdod Port. 

Israel also agreed to let Turkey build a hospital in Gaza and lift all restrictions on the supply of equipment, drugs and staff to the medical facility. Jerusalem also approved the construction of a power plant in Gaza, which Turkey will build in collaboration with Germany, as well as the construction of a desalination facility.