Turkey, Israel in talks, may reach deal soon: Turkish official

Turkey's Islamist dictator Tayyip Erdogan

A Turkish government official has confirmed Hürriyet Daily News that Israeli and Turkish officials held talks in Switzerland over the broken ties and may reach a deal soon.

“We have not reached an agreement yet,” the official said on Dec. 17 while responding to a question on reports which said the two countries reached a preliminary deal.

“But (talks) may result soon,” the official said.

Talks with Israel have been ongoing for some time, Turkish prime ministry officials told Hürriyet Daily News, adding that talks were continuing in a positive manner, but no consensus was reached.

Israel and Turkey have reached a preliminary agreement to normalize relations, including the return of ambassadors to both countries, Reuters quoted an Israeli official as saying earlier on Dec 17.

A Turkish foreign ministry official told Hürriyet Daily News that the two countries have come to an understanding. The official said Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu represented Turkey at the talks in Switzerland and he returned to Turkey.

According to Reuters, a preliminary deal was reached during a recent meeting in Switzerland between the incoming head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Yossi Cohen, Israeli envoy Joseph Ciechanover and Sinirlioğlu, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined comment and there was no immediate comment from the Turkish Foreign Ministry, it said.

Under the preliminary agreement, according to the report, Israel will establish a compensation fund to address the killing by Israeli marines of 10 Turks aboard an aid ship that tried to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2010, the official said. Turkey would then drop all claims against Israel, the report said.

The Israel-Turkey alliance ties deteriorated after the incident.

Efforts to reconcile the countries, including in a 2013 phone call between Erdoğan and Netanyahu that was brokered by U.S. President Barack Obama, have yet to yield a final deal restoring full diplomatic ties.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News