ISTANBUL – Turkey’s foreign minister has said that parliament will approve a deal to normalize ties with Israel before it goes into its summer recess later this month, the Anadolou news agency reported Thursday.
“I think we will finalize this work before the parliament goes into the summer recess,” Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as telling the state-run agency.
In June, Turkey and Israel signed a deal to restore their broken ties, which hit an all-time low after the 2010 raid by Israeli commandos on a Gaza-bound flotilla that sparked a deadly clash that left 10 Turks dead and several IDF soldiers wounded.
Israel had already offered compensation and an apology over the raid, but with the agreement it also eased slightly the naval blockade on Hamas-ruled Gaza and allowed Ankara to deliver a humanitarian aid shipment to the territory.
Cavusoglu acknowledged parliament had so far not taken up the deal with Israel because of time pressure created by the July 15 coup attempt by rogue elements in the military seeking to unseat the government, which Turkey blames on US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.
But he insisted that it would appear on parliament’s agenda before the recess, which is due to start at the end of next week before parliament returns in mid-September.
“Israel has lived up to our conditions. We said ‘if the conditions are fulfilled we’ll normalize ties.’ So we must implement it as soon as possible,” he added.
Only once the deal is ratified by parliament will Turkey and Israel begin the process of exchanging ambassadors to fully restore their diplomatic ties.