Turkey’s Erdogan ratifies Israel reconciliation deal
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Turkey’s Erdogan ratifies Israel reconciliation deal

As relations thaw, countries set to exchange ambassadors, reset ties

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during the inauguration of the Yavuz Sultan Selim bridge in Istanbul on August 26, 2016. (AFP/Ozan Kose)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during the inauguration of the Yavuz Sultan Selim bridge in Istanbul on August 26, 2016. (AFP/Ozan Kose)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday ratified the Israel-Turkey reconciliation deal agreed upon by the two countries’ leaders in June.

His country’s parliament voted to approve the pact earlier this month before it closed for a summer recess.

Relations between the former allies imploded in 2010 following an Israeli naval raid on a Turkish aid ship trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The raid, in which IDF commandos were attacked by activists on board, left 10 Turks dead and several soldiers wounded.

Under the terms of the reconciliation agreement, Israel will pay a “lump sum” of $20 million in compensation to the victims within 25 days.

Individual Israeli nationals also would not be held criminally or financially liable for the incident.

The Mavi Marmara is seen off the coast of Israel in May 2010. (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90)
The Mavi Marmara is seen off the coast of Israel in May 2010. (Kobi Gideon/Flash90)

Israel had already offered compensation and an apology over the raid several years ago, but with the agreement it also eased slightly its part in the blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, transferring humanitarian aid from Ankara through Israel’s border crossings with the Strip.

The Israeli cabinet has already approved the deal.

Turkey’s ratification of the agreement had been delayed by the July 15 military coup attempt, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Turkey and Israel will now begin the process of exchanging ambassadors to fully restore their diplomatic ties.

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