Shaul Mofaz: Now is the time to repair ties with Turkey

Turkey is speculated to be one of several countries receiving security prisoners deported from Israel as part of Schalit prisoner exchange.

Mofaz northern border 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Mofaz northern border 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
MK Shaul Mofaz (Kadima), chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said on Saturday that because of Turkey’s involvement in negotiations to free captive soldier Gilad Schalit, now is an opportune time to restore ties with Ankara, Israel Radio reported.
A recent apology by Defense Minister Ehud Barak to Egypt for the deaths of several Egyptian soldiers two months ago, Mofaz said, sets the tone for detente with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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According to the deal reached last week between Israel and Hamas, many of the security prisoners being released in exchange for Schalit will be deported overseas. A list of countries that will take them has not yet been announced, although there is speculation Turkey may be one of them.
President Shimon Peres on Tuesday said he was “pleasantly surprised by the Turkish government’s stand” on the Schalit deal, but did not elaborate, raising speculation Ankara either expressed a willingness to take in some of the Palestinian prisoners, helped convince Hamas it should accept the deal, or both.