The second round of reconciliation talks between Israel and Turkey are set to take place on Monday in Jerusalem, two weeks after the first meeting in Istanbul, as the two countries attempt to thaw three years of estranged relations.
Leading the Turkish delegation will be Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç and Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, who will meet with National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror and special envoy to Turkey, attorney Joseph Ciechanover.
The central point of this week’s meeting will be the amount Israel will agree to pay in compensation to the families of the nine Turkish citizens killed in Israel’s 2010 raid on the Mavi Marmara.
Israel has reportedly offered $100,000 to each family, with the families asking for $1 million each. During the last round of talks, a framework was said to have been devised, under which payments will be based on the victims’ age, family circumstances and other factors.
Also on the table is compensation for some 70 others who were injured in the raid, which Israeli in principle has agreed to pay, Maariv reported on Sunday. Israeli commandos attempting to commandeer the blockade-busting vessel were attacked with clubs and metal bars.
Other issues said to be under discussion are an Israeli demand that various criminal lawsuits against IDF officers and Israel officials over the Mavi Marmara incident be dropped and an easing of Israel’s blockade of Gaza.
Turkey and Israel once enjoyed close political and military cooperation but the flotilla incident led Turkey to freeze diplomatic relations. In March, in a phone conversation during the final moments of US President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for operational errors made in the raid and promised compensation for the victims and their families. He agreed to ease, but not lift, Israel’s blockade of Gaza in return for Ankara dropping the lawsuits — potentially paving the way for normalization between the two countries.