Turkey, Israel in Compromise Deal After 2010 Mavi Marmara Assault

Turkey, Israel in Compromise Deal   After 2010 Mavi Marmara AssaultTurkey, Israel in Compromise Deal   After 2010 Mavi Marmara Assault

Israel has reached a reconciliation deal with Turkey to end a bitter six-year rift between the Mideast powers, an official said Sunday.

Relations between the two sides imploded in May 2010 following an Israeli naval raid that killed nine Turkish activists, including a dual American citizen, who were on a ship trying to breach Israel’s illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip, AP reported.

An independent inquiry into the assault by Israeli commandos on the Gaza aid flotilla after autopsy results on the bodies of those killed revealed they were peppered with 9mm bullets, many fired at close range.

Nine Turkish men on board the Mavi Marmara were shot a total of 30 times and five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head, according to the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, which carried out the autopsies.

Following the incident, Turkey withdrew its ambassador to Israel and greatly scaled back military and economy ties. But relations were never broken completely.

Turkey’s move toward rapprochement with Israel comes amid its deepening isolation in the region following a breakdown of ties with Russia and Egypt as well as the turmoil in neighboring Syria.

The Israeli official confirmed the details of the agreement on Sunday. He spoke on condition of anonymity pending a formal announcement. The two sides plan to sign the agreement on Tuesday. Turkey’s new Prime Minister Binali Yildirim was also scheduled to make an announcement in Ankara.

The Israeli official said the impending deal would include $20 million in Israeli compensation for families of those killed in the raid, an end to all Turkish claims against Israeli military personnel over the raid, and the mutual restoration of ambassadors.

A senior Turkish official said that under the agreement, Turkey would deliver “humanitarian aid and other non-military products” to Gaza and engage in infrastructure investments, including the construction of residential buildings and the completion of a 200-bed hospital.

Turkey would also be involved in projects addressing energy and water shortages in Gaza, the official said, adding that “the amount of electricity and drinking water to Gaza residents will increase and new power plants will be constructed.”