Israeli-Turkish Reconciliation Round Set in Switzerland

YERUSHALAYIM -
View of a "Turkish" flight, a Turkish airline, taking off from Ben Gurion International Airport. July 23, 2013. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)
View of a “Turkish” flight, a Turkish airline, taking off from Ben Gurion International Airport. July 23, 2013. (Moshe Shai/FLASH90)

Israeli and Turkish negotiating teams are scheduled to meet in Switzerland on Wednesday in another attempt at finalizing a reconciliation agreement, Haaretz quoted Western diplomats as saying.

Participating in the talks on the Israeli side will be Joseph Ciechanover, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s representative, and acting National Security Adviser Jacob Nagel. Turkey is to be represented in this round by Under Secretary of State Feridun Sinirlioglu.

The prime minister’s bureau declined to comment.

A senior Israeli official said that two issues remain outstanding. One is direct, unfettered Turkish access to the Gaza Strip, which Israel has refused, since it would be tantamount to ending the blockade. The second issue is the Israeli demand that Hamas terror activity in Turkey, which continues even after the ouster of Hamas official Salah Aruri, be shut down completely.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu said that both Israel and Turkey will have to make compromises to achieve normalization of relations.

“We aspire to normalization with all our neighbors, but it’s always a two-way street,” he said.

On Tuesday afternoon, a Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization delegation, led by Malcolm Hoenlein, met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Turkey.

Hoenlein notified the Prime Minister’s Bureau and the Foreign Ministry in advance of the meetings in Turkey, and was asked to relay several messages to Erdogan and Davutoglu. Netanyahu said during the tour that he would be happy to hear what the two Turkish leaders had to say to Hoenlein and his delegation.