Israel-Turkey Agreement of Reconciliation

Jun 28, 2016

The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot of July 1, published a long interview with His Excellency Dr. Yosef Ciechanover regarding the Agreement between Israel and Turkey in which he was the chief negotiator on behalf of Israel. In the interview, he provides a lot of information regarding the Agreement between Israel and Turkey. He emphasized that the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan demands from the very beginning were three, as follows:

1) Israel would apologize
2) Israel would pay compensation to the families of the nine Turkish individuals who were killed in the incident on the ship Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010
3) Israel would lift the boycott in the Gaza Strip

Dr. Ciechanover explains that after six years of negotiation only recently President Erdogan of Turkey agreed to reach a compromise. He explains that there was no choice not to make a connection between the Agreement and the return of the two Israeli soldiers that apparently were killed in August 2014–Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin–and the two Israelis that crossed the border to the Gaza Strip– Avraham Abera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed –and are being held as prisoners of the Hamas. He specifies that Israel and Turkey had to reach an agreement because they had a common interest and because the situation in the region is deteriorating. Dr. Ciechanover states that he doesn’t think that the relationship between Israel and Turkey will be as intimate as it was before 2009, but this was not the purpose of the Agreement with Turkey which was to normalize relations between the two countries.

Regarding the seizure of the Gaza Strip, Dr. Ciechanover emphasized that there is an interest in raising the standard of living because otherwise the situation there would explode.

Conflicting Reports
Regarding the two soldiers missing in action, there are conflicting reports as to whether the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu promised the families of the soldiers that there would be no agreement with Turkey unless the bodies of the soldiers missing in action are returned to Israel. The Prime Minister’s office indicated that this was not promised by the Prime Minister. It was clear from the very beginning that the ability of Turkey to influence the Hamas to return the bodies is almost nill, and that if Israel would have made this requirement a condition to the Agreement, Israel would have put itself in a situation that gives the Hamas the ability to determine whether or not there will be an agreement.

Sale of Gasoline
It is mentioned in the interview that the Agreement opens the option to establish a tie between Israel and Turkey in order to sell gas from Israel to Turkey and to Europe which will amount to billions of dollars.
In addition to the interview, there are many articles in the press regarding the Agreement.

The Families
The families of the two missing soldiers continue to protest and even claim that they will go to the entrance of the Gaza Strip and block cars with food and other commodities. It should be mentioned that in the Agreement, it was decided that Turkish ships will dock with cargo for humanitarian aid at the Port of Ashdod in Israel and from there the aid will be taken by truck to the Gaza Strip. The first Turkish ship has already arrived in the Port of Ashdod.

Agreement Approved
The Agreement will enable Israel and Turkey to cooperate in many areas economically, strategically, and commercially including acting against Iran’s presence in Syria and Lebanon. The present volume of economic relations between Israel and Turkey amounts to US$6 billion.

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