Israel-Turkey reconciliation hits roadblock

TEL AVIV (JTA) — Israeli-Turkish reconciliation talks reportedly are stuck over whether Israel’s payment to Turkey is a voluntary gift or compensation for a wrongful act.

Turkey downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel and then expelled Israel’s ambassador after the 2010 flotilla incident, in which Israeli troops, while stopping a ship in a flotilla trying to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza, killed nine Turkish nationals in a violent confrontation on board the ship, the Mavi Marmara.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in March, and representatives of the countries met for reconciliation talks in April and May.

The sides, according to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, have agreed on the amount Israel is to pay Turkey, but talks have stalled over how to characterize the payment.

“We are not going to rush for the money,” said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, according to Hurriyet. “Israel has to accept its wrongful act. Otherwise we will not say yes to them.”

Arınç also said that before concluding reconciliation talks, Turkey wants Israel to ease its blockade of Gaza.

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