There are huge gaps between Israel and Turkey over the level of compensation to be paid to the families of the nine Turks that were killed in the Mavi Marmara IDF raid. While Turkey is demanding $1 million for each person killed, Israel is prepared to pay $100,000.
The nine Turkish activists died when IDF commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara, which was part of a flotilla attempting to break the Gaza blockade in May 2010.
On Friday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan, voicing regret for the loss of life in the Mavi Marmara incident, and apologizing for any mistakes that led to the death of nine Turkish activists. Breaking a three-year deadlock, the two agreed to normalize relations.
Turkey conditioned the normalizing of relations with an official apology, compensation for the bereaved families of the nine Turkish activists, and the removal of the Israeli Gaza blockade.
Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni is mediating the compensation talks between Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Israel. She has spoken to Davutoglu over the past few days and the two countries have agreed to set up a joint committee to discuss the amount of compensation to be paid.
Technical teams that will discuss this issue – the Israeli team led by Joseph Ciechanover and the Turkish one by Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu, a former ambassador to Israel – are expected to begin meetings this week. In past negotiations between the two countries over the compensation issue, the idea was for Israel to pay directly into a Turkish fund set up for the families, and not to the families individually.
On Tuesday, Erdogan told the Turkish parliament that now that relations with Israel were on the mend, Ankara is going to become more involved in "solving the Palestinian question and thus bringing about a new equation."
He also added that the wording of Netanyahu's apology was done under US President Barack Obama's supervision, and that the phone conversation was recorded and written statements were issued by all three parties, according to Turkish daily Hurriyet.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.
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