Israeli delegation has 'good' talks in Ankara

Israeli, Turkish delegations agree on mechanism to calculate the compensation for families of flotilla victims.

Israeli delegation in Ankara 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
Israeli delegation in Ankara 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
An Israeli delegation left Ankara on Monday night after laying the groundwork for the possibility of full reconciliation with Turkey, an Israeli official said.
“It was a good meeting. We agreed on all aspects, including an agreed text,” the official said, adding that a joint text was prepared but not released.
Among the key issues under discussion was Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s pledge to conclude an “agreement on compensation/non-liability” with the families of nine Turkish activists, killed by the IDF aboard the Mavi Marmara in 2010 as it attempted to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.
The families have told the Turkish media that they are not interested in compensation, and they have continued to sue Israel in an Istanbul court.
But the Turkish delegation, led by Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, has continued to pursue the compensation offer with the Israeli delegation, led by National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror.
During Monday’s meeting, the two delegations agreed on a mechanism by which to calculate the compensation figure, which included parameters and principles but did not discuss the actual sum, according to an official.
“As soon as the figures are agreed upon, they go through the system in both countries,” the official said.
After that, the process will start to fully resume diplomatic relations, the official said, adding that the two delegations would be holding more meetings in the coming days.
Turkey broke its diplomatic ties with Israel after the Mavi Marmara deaths, demanding an apology and compensation.
It agreed to consider restoration of ties only after Netanyahu called Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and apologized for Israel’s role in the deaths. Netanyahu did so at the tail end of US Barak Obama’s visit to Israel in March.
While in Istanbul on Sunday, US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Turkish leaders to restore relations with Israel. The United States, along with Israel and Turkey, can form an important alliance to combat regional threats such as Iran’s nuclear weapons program and extremist groups in Syria, Kerry said.Reuters contributed to this report.