After six years of conflict, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Binaldi Yildirim met in Rome today and signed a reconciliation agreement. The two countries had been at loggerheads since the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, in which nine Turkish citizens were killed after clashing with the IDF as they attempted to board the ship, which was trying to break the Gaza blockade.
Speaking in Rome, Netanyahu said that the reconciliation agreement would have positive economic effects for both countries. He added, "This is an agreement of strategic importance for the State of Israel. My responsibility is to worry about national interests by understanding the international arena."
The reconciliation agreement includes full normalization between Israel and Turkey. Ambassadors will be returned to the two countries, mutual visits, commitments by both countries not to work against each other in international organizations and the end of opposition to cooperation in international agreements. Cooperation will include joint military exercises, and investments in energy and defense.
In concrete terms, Israel and Turkey will begin formal talks to build a gas pipeline between the two countries through which Israel might sell its natural gas, with Turkish assistance, to Europe.
At the heart of the Israel-Turkey negotiations, which began last December, was the amount of compensation to be paid to the families of those who died on the Mavi Marmara. Under the terms of the new reconciliation agreement, Israel will transfer $20 million for the families of those killed via a Turkish humanitarian fund. In exchange, the Turkish government will cancel the lawsuit filed against the IDF in the Istanbul court.
Regarding Gaza, Israel has agreed to allow construction of a hospital financed by Turkey and will not prevent the passage of medical equipment and Turkish staff. In addition, Turkey and Germany will build a power station in the Gaza strip and Turkey will also build a desalination plant. All Turkish aid for Gaza will undergo strict security checks at Ashdod port. In exchange, Turkey has withdrawn its demand that Israel lift the blockade on the Gaza strip.
Israel and Turkey will also recommence intelligence and security cooperation. Israel has withdrawn its demand that Hamas cease to operate on Turkish territory but Turkey is committed not to let Hamas act against Israel from Turkey.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 27, 2016
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