Turkey and Israel held a fresh round of talks Thursday in an effort to normalise ties after relations were partially frozen five years ago, said Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
NATO member Turkey was a key regional ally of Israel until the two countries fell out in 2010 over the deadly storming by Israeli commandos of a Turkish aid ship, the Mavi Marmara, bound for Gaza.
After several years of acrimonious accusations, two sides met in December in secret talks to seek a rapprochement, with another round of high-level talks taking place in February in Geneva.
“Meetings with Israel have been taking place for a while and they are continuing today,” Davutoglu said in Ankara. “If our demands are received favourably, then the next steps will be clear and the necessary announcements will be made to the public.” An Israeli official confirmed the meeting was taking place, but its location was not made public. Previous meetings are believed to have been conducted in Geneva.
In February, Turkey said the two former allies were “close to concluding a deal”. But the two sides have yet to agree on all of Turkey’s conditions, with the main hurdle appearing to be the lifting of Israel’s blockade on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Turkey already got an apology for the Mavi Marmara incident, which left 10 Turkish aid activists dead, and talks have advanced on the subject of compensation for the victims. Read more