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Turkish Parliament Approves Israel Reconciliation Deal | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Palestinians check Turkish aid shipments upon arrival in the Gaza Strip at Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and southern Gaza Strip. Photo: Reuters

Turkey’s parliament has ratified a reconciliation deal reached with Israel last month after a delay caused by the July 15 attempted coup, state-run media reported Saturday.

Lawmakers ratified late Friday the agreement to restore relations between the two former close regional allies after a six-year rift, before the parliament closed for a summer recess.

Relations between the former allies imploded in 2010 following an Israeli naval raid on a Turkish aid ship trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The raid killed 10 Turkish activists.

Under the deal, Israel will pay Turkey $20 million (17.7 million euros) in compensation for the botched Israeli commando raid on the ship, state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Israel will hand Turkey a “lump sum” within 25 working days of the agreement coming into force, the agency said, which families of the victims will receive in due course.

Individual Israeli nationals also would not be held criminally or financially liable for the incident, Anadolu said.

Israeli cabinet ministers approved the deal with Turkey in late June but Ankara did not send it to parliament because of time pressure following the July 15 attempted putsch by a rogue military faction.

Israel was quick to give its support to the Turkish government in the aftermath of the coup bid, condemning it while repeating its faith in the reconciliation process between the two countries.

Now the deal has been approved, the two countries are expected to begin the process of exchanging ambassadors to fully restore diplomatic ties.

The agreement also involves an easing of the naval blockade on Gaza allowing Turkey to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians there via Israel’s Ashdod port.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has previously spoken about the economic advantages of improved relations, discussing the possibility of a pipeline to Turkey to export Israeli gas.

The rapprochement between the two countries came after secret talks held in December 2014 with two more rounds in February 2015 in Geneva and April this year in London.

Turkey appears to be willing to return to its previous “zero problems with neighbors” foreign policy after the country also normalized relations with Russia. Relations were damaged after Turkey shot down a Russian jet in November last year.