Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç announced Tuesday that a deal with Israel for accepting compensation of the Mavi Marmara victims will likely be signed after his country’s municipal elections on March 30, restoring diplomatic ties between the two countries.
According to the Turkish paper Hurriyet Daily News, a final draft of the agreement was submitted by Israel last month and is awaiting Turkish governmental approval.
Once the terms are finalized, the Turkish parliament must evaluate the document, and upon its endorsement, the process of assigning ambassadors for the two countries could commence immediately.
The ongoing negotiations outline the amount in damages to be paid by Israel to families of the nine Turks killed in the botched May 2010 naval commandeering operation on the Mavi Marmara flotilla.
The incident triggered an international outcry and exacerbated already strained relations between Turkey and Israel into a full-blown diplomatic row, with Ankara expelling the Israeli ambassador and demanding a formal apology and compensation.
Talks on compensation eventually began in March 2013 after Israel extended an apology to Turkey in a breakthrough phone call brokered by US President Barack Obama during his visit to Israel.
Turkish Foreign Ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu was in Israel in early February to discuss the terms of the agreement. Under the deal, Turkey would reportedly legislate to prevent lawsuits against Israel over the Mavi Marmara affair, and drop its objections to an upgrading of Israel’s relationship with NATO.
While the final sum to be granted to the families of the victims is still under wraps, reports have indicated that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a $20 million compensation package in mid-February.
AFP and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.