Israel, Turkey inch closer

By JC Reporter, February 6, 2014

A delegation of Turkish officials visited Israel this week in what is being seen in both countries as the final stage before the former allies bury the hatchet and sign a compensation agreement on the killing of nine Turkish civilians on the Marmara ferry in 2010.

Talks on a rapprochement have been ongoing for more than two years. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to apologise for the deaths last March but the two sides failed to reach a deal. Mr Erdogan is under a lot of political pressure at home and an agreement with Israel will be portrayed as a victory that could help him in the local elections next month.

The main point that still has to be agreed upon is the level of compensation — Israel is offering $20m for the nine families. The Turks are also demanding Israel ease the closure of Gaza. In return, Israel is demanding a law that will prevent the prosecution of Israelis in Turkish courts over the Marmara operation and a clear commitment to restoring full relations.

Last updated: 8:45pm, February 6 2014