Report: Israel, Turkey could sign compensation deal soon

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel and Turkey could sign a compensation deal over the Mavi Marmara incident as early as next month, according to Turkey’s deputy prime minister.

Bulent Arınc told the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News that Israel delivered the final reconciliation text, with a monetary figure, last month. He added that following March 30 local elections, the Turkish government would re-evaluate the document and turn it into an official agreement to be submitted to the two countries for approval.

After the agreement is signed, Israel and Turkey can resume normalized relations, with the countries exchanging diplomats, Arınc told Hurriyet.

Turkey downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel and then expelled Israel’s ambassador after the 2010 flotilla incident, in which Israeli troops killed nine Turkish nationals in clashes while trying to stop the Mavi Marmara from breaking Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last March, after which representatives of the countries met for reconciliation talks.

Arınc singled out President Obama for helping to bring the two sides together.

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