Talks to repair Israeli-Turkish ties must await new government, Israeli envoy says

May 10, 2016 14:04
1 minute read.

ISTANBUL - Long-running efforts to fully restore Israeli-Turkish ties strained after an Israeli raid of a Turkish boat in 2010 must now await the formation of a new government in Ankara, Israel's top diplomat in Turkey said.

Turkey downgraded diplomatic relations and ejected Israel's ambassador in 2011, a year after Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara, part of a humanitarian aid convoy trying to break Israel's blockade of Gaza, and killed 10 Turks.

Israel is currently represented by Shai Cohen, its consul-general in Istanbul.

The two sides have signaled for months a deal is imminent, including compensation for the Mavi Marmara victims and an easing of the Gaza blockade.

Israeli officials said a deal was reached in December, and President Tayyip Erdogan said in March he expected positive results soon, raising hopes an agreement was imminent.

The next meeting "will have to wait until the composition of the new Turkish government on May 22," Cohen told reporters late on Monday. "I believe it will take another round or two in order to conclude the deal ... Most of the issues between Israel and Turkey are already, to a certain extent, clear."

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will step down on May 22 after a rift with Erdogan. Forming a new government could delay both domestic and foreign policy initiatives.

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