Mavi Marmara 311.
(photo credit: Stringer Turkey / Reuters)
Israeli and Turkish officials reached a draft agreement to mend the three-year diplomatic crisis between the two countries, after a productive day-long meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem on Monday night.
“The two sides expect to come to an agreement in the near future,” said a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office.
“The meeting was conducted in a good and positive manner. The delegations reached an agreed draft, but further clarifications are required on certain subjects,” the PMO said.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in China when the meeting occurred.
National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror along with Joseph Ciechanover from the Prime Minister’s Office led the Israeli delegation.
The Foreign Ministry staff was not present, even though the meeting was held in their building, according to a diplomatic source.
Turkish Foreign Ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu, a former Turkish ambassador to Israel, led his country’s delegation.
It was the highest-level Turkish delegation to visit Israel in the last three years.
The meeting lasted more than eight hours.
It following an initial day-long meeting between the two delegations in Ankara in April.
That Turkish delegation was led by Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc.
Israelis left Ankara hopeful progress had been made, and were even more optimistic on Monday.
In light of the growing threats from Syria and Iran, Israel and Turkey are looking to repair their severed relationship and normalize ties.
Ankara broke off relations with Jerusalem in May 2010, after the IDF raided the ship Mavi Marmara as it attempted to break Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza, killing nine Turkish activists on board.
A March gesture by Netanyahu, in which he apologized to Turkey for the deaths, came at the tail end of a visit to Israel by US President Barack Obama.
Netanyahu promised to conclude an “agreement on compensation/non-liability” with the families of the nine Turkish activists.
In April a compensation mechanism was agreed upon with Turkey, but no sums have been publicized. It is understood that full reconciliation and the restoration of diplomatic ties will not be possible until compensation is agreed upon.
This reconciliation will include an exchange of ambassadors, as had existed in the past.