Turkey and Israel reach deal to normalize ties

Turkey and Israel reach deal to normalize ties

Israel and Turkey have announced a reconciliation deal to end a six-year diplomatic standoff that started when Israeli naval commandos shot dead nine Turkish activists travelling on an aid flotilla making for the Gaza coast, The Guardian reports.

A deal negotiated in Rome on Sunday will restore full ambassador-level relations, provide for about $20m in compensation for the families of those killed and wounded aboard the Mavi Marmara in 2010, and clear the way for potentially lucrative contracts for Israel to transmit natural gas to Turkey.

After agreeing to halt all proceedings in domestic and international courts against Israeli forces, Turkey is expected to be allowed to ship aid for Gaza through the Israeli port of Ashdod and to build a power station, hospital and desalination plan in the blockaded Strip.

The Turkish prime minister, Binali Yildirim, announcing the deal in Ankara, said a first shipment of 10,000 tonnes of aid would be sent next Friday but it was too early to talk about gas deals with Israel. The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a simultaneous announcement in Rome that the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza would continue.

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