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May 9, 2014 9:45 am

Obstacles ‘Substantially Overcome’ in Turkey-Israel Normalization Talks

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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Photo: State Department.

JNS.orgObstacles have been “substantially overcome” in negotiations to restore diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, Reuters reported.

The talks have centered on determining a financial compensation package for the Turkish family members of the victims of the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla incident, which led to the severing of Turkey-Israel relations. After militants attacked Israeli soldiers on board the flotilla, which was trying to break the naval blockade of Gaza, eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American were killed in clashes. In the current negotiations with Israel, Turkey has continued to push for the lifting of the Gaza blockade, a demand that Israel has so far rejected.

Discussions on the compensation issue “were going on and we can say they reached a certain level, but of course until the discussions reach a final outcome, we do not have a solid remark,” Davutoglu said Thursday.

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“Because of this, when we reach a certain point about the compensation and the limitations being applied to Gaza and Palestine, we will share them with the public,” he said. “But as our prime minister and deputy prime minister have mentioned, we can say the problems are being substantially overcome.”

The push to reestablish Turkish-Israeli relations began during a March 2013 visit to Israel by U.S. President Barack. At the time, Obama urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to apologize to Erdogan for the flotilla deaths. Netanyahu made the apology over the phone.

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