Davutoglu: Turkey Insisting on Compensation, Gaza Demands in Israel Talks

ANKARA (Reuters/Hamodia) -
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu talks during a joint news conference with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, after their meeting at his office in Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015. Merkel is meeting Turkish leaders to promote a EU plan that would offer aid and concessions to Turkey in exchange for measures to stem the mass movement of migrants across Europe's borders.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday talks on restoring ties with Israel were continuing, and Ankara was insisting on its demands for compensation and for “lifting restrictions” on Gaza, which is subject to an Israeli blockade.

In a speech to members of his ruling AK Party in parliament, Davutoglu said that the talks were progressing positively but that a final outcome had not been reached.

Relations between the two countries broke down in 2010 after an Israeli naval raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla that killed eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American. In the aftermath of the raid, Turkey became one of the strongest critics of Israeli actions in Gaza.

Israel apologized to Turkey for the deaths and agreed to compensate the victims’ families under a U.S.-brokered arrangement in 2013. But efforts to restore ties faltered amid new Israeli action in Gaza.

Earlier, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby welcomed a potential agreement between Israel and Turkey.

“We’ve seen reports of a potential agreement between Israel and Turkey to restore diplomatic relations,” said Kirby during a daily press briefing on Monday.

“We would welcome this step in improving relations between two of our key allies in the region,” Kirby said.