Erdogan Signals Possible Warming of Ties With Israel

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has signaled a possible warming of relations with Israel, saying the entire region would have much to gain from normalized ties.

Relations between former allies Turkey and Israel broke down in 2010 after nine Turkish citizens died in an Israeli naval raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla. Turkey has become the strongest critic of Israeli actions in Gaza, and reconciliation efforts between the two have repeatedly failed.

Erdogan told journalists during a flight back from Turkmenistan that “normalization with Israel” was possible if the sides can reach a compensation deal for the raid’s victims and if Israel lifts a blockade against Palestinians. His words were reported by Yeni Safak newspaper on Monday.

“There is so much that we, Israel, Palestine and the region can gain from such a normalization process. The region is in need of this,” Erdogan said.

Turkey is currently embroiled in several conflicts involving Syria and Russia, after a Turkish jet downed a Russian bomber last month over Syria.