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February 16, 2016 3:53 pm

Turkish Official: Ankara, Jerusalem Close to Signing Deal to Normalize Relations

avatar by David Daoud

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Israeli and Turkish flags. Photo: Israel-Turkey Business and Commerce Chamber.

Israeli and Turkish flags. Photo: Israel-Turkey Business and Commerce Chamber.

A senior Turkish official said that Ankara and Jerusalem were close to signing a deal that would normalize ties between the two countries, Lebanese online newspaper Naharnet reported on Tuesday.

The official, who asked not to be named, called on both sides to demonstrate political will to conclude the agreement. He also indicated that Turkey would require Israel to lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip as a precondition for restoring ties.

Historically strong Israeli-Turkish relations soured in 2010 when the ship, the Mavi Marmara  — part of the “Free Gaza” flotilla — attempted to break the Israeli blockade. The ship was boarded by IDF commandos, who were attacked by the activists on board. In the ensuing melee, nine Turkish citizens were killed, and 10 Israeli soldiers were wounded.

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