Turkish Parliament Approves Deal Ending Rift With Israel

ISTANBUL (Reuters) -
Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, carrying pro-Palestinian activists to take part of a humanitarian convoy, leaves from Sarayburnu port in Istanbul, Turkey May 22, 2010. REUTERS/Emrah Dalkaya/File Photo
The Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, carrying pro-Palestinian provocateurs to take part in a humanitarian convoy, leaves from Sarayburnu port in Istanbul, Turkey, May 22, 2010. (Reuters/Emrah Dalkaya/File Photo)

Turkey’s parliament approved a reconciliation agreement signed with Israel in June which has brought to an end a six-year rift between the two regional powers, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Saturday.

Relations between the two countries crumbled after Israeli marines stormed a provocative Turkish ship in May 2010, killing 10 Turks on board.

Israel, which had already offered its apologies for the raid, agreed under the deal to pay out $20 million to the bereaved and wounded in return for Turkey dropping outstanding legal claims.

Both countries are to appoint ambassadors under an agreement which is partly driven by the prospect of lucrative Mediterranean gas deals.

The accord, signed on June 28, was a rare rapprochement in the divided Middle East, also driven by mutual fears over growing security risks. Two weeks later, more than 240 people were killed in an attempted coup in Turkey.

Under the deal, the naval blockade of Gaza, which Ankara had wanted lifted, remains in force, although humanitarian aid can continue to be transferred to Gaza via Israeli ports.