Israeli minister says reconciliation deal with Turkey is 90 percent done

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An Israeli minister who is close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said a majority of the issues in a reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey have been agreed upon, an Israeli daily reported on Saturday.

Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz reportedly said that the agreements were 90 percent completed. The issues agreed upon include the question of a seaport for the Gaza Strip.

Diplomatic ties between Turkey and Israel came under strain after May 2010, when Israeli commandos killed eight Turkish citizens and an American of Turkish origin in international waters on the Mavi Marmara ship. There were expectations of a breakthrough after senior Turkish and Israeli officials met in December of last year for talks on mending ties. The talks, which come as Turkey’s relationship has worsened with Russia, its main gas supplier, have raised hopes of progress in negotiations to import Israeli natural gas.

Earlier this week, İbrahim Kalın, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesman said the normalization of ties between Israel and Turkey depends on reaching an agreement over humanitarian aid to Gaza.
Kalın said Turkey insists on the “re-establishment of conditions for humanitarian aid to Gaza” and supports an independent state of Palestine “whose capital is East Jerusalem.”

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