Israel, Turkey Edging Closer to Agreement

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israeli and Turkish negotiators may be on the verge of a breakthrough, according to Haaretz on Monday.

Turkey has lately been showing more flexibility on terms of compensation for the victims in the Gaza-bound flotilla incident of 2010, offering to accept a lower amount than it had demanded in the past, a senior Israeli official said.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is said to be considering the new deal.

“The agreement is ready; all that’s left is to fill in the blank with a number. There are still differences regarding the amounts, but they have narrowed,” the senior Israeli official said, adding, “There is a will on both sides to wrap things up as soon as possible and normalize relations.”

Negotiations had come to a standstill over various issues — political, legal and monetary. But earlier this month there was fresh movement. Turkey offered to resume negotiations. Israel sent a delegation to Istanbul, headed by National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen, along with the prime minister’s envoy to the talks, Joseph Ciechanover, and acting Foreign Ministry Director General Nissim Ben-Sheetrit.

In May, Haaretz reported that Turkey was demanding $1 million for the family of each victim, while Israel was prepared to pay only $100,000, following international standards in such cases.