Turkish FM: Normalization with Israel could come ‘within days’

Israel and Turkey may announce a reconciliation agreement within days, Turkey's Foreign Minister said on Monday, according to the Hurriyet daily newspaper.

The newspaper said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan chaired a nine-hour meeting of the Turkish cabinet last week which dealt, among other issues, with Ankara’s bilateral relations with Israel.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu briefed the meeting over the current phase of normalization efforts with Israel, telling the cabinet members the efforts towards normalization were close to being completed.

Accordingly, Turkey and Israel may make a joint statement “in the coming days,” added Cavusoglu, according to the Hurriyet.

Recent reports indicated that Israel and Turkey had reached "understandings" to normalize ties that were downgraded following the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, which occurred when the IHH Islamists on board refused to heed Israeli orders to turn the ship around and dock at the Ashdod Port instead of Gaza.

When the ship insisted on continuing to Gaza, IDF soldiers had no choice but to board it, upon which they were attacked by the Islamists, forcing them to open fire.

Recently, diplomatic sources said the sides were making progress in rapprochement talks, but some issues still need to be resolved.

Even amid the talks Turkey is planning a $5 billion project to reconstruct Gaza, and prime among the plans is a major seaport for the Hamas-controlled enclave.

The Israeli government has firmly opposed such a seaport, given the danger of it being used to smuggle in weapons. In fact, on the weekend Major General Yoav Mordechai, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), said that Israel is not conducting any negotiations on the establishment of a seaport in Gaza.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/208710

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