PM Yıldırım announces normalization deal with Israel, says aid to be sent to Gaza on Friday

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Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım held a press conference at the Çankaya Mansion in Ankara capital and officially announced the deal to normalize ties with Israel, adding that the first humanitarian help to Gaza will be sent on Friday.

“We made long negotiations but finally made a decision. Accordingly, our first humanitarian aid, which is more than 10,000 tons, will be sent to the Ashdod Port on Friday. … Our brothers in Gaza have suffered extremely. They will thus be able to breathe a sigh of relief with this agreement. Just as we did until now, we as Turkey will continue to support Palestine’s just ideals and defend their right to be a government in every platform,” Yıldırım said.

The PM informed that ambassadors will be appointed within weeks if the procees to confirm the agreement works smoothly.

Yıldırım also said that a $20 million to be paid as a “compensation” for those activists who lost their lives while carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, although Israeli media reported earlier that the amount will be paid as a “donation”.

The Israeli press also claimed that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ordered Turkish organizations to do what is necessary in order to hand over two Israeli citizens as well as bodies of two Israeli soldiers from Gaza to Israel, although the written agreement does not include such a condition.

According to the agreement covered by Israeli press, only one of Turkey’s three conditions to normalize ties with Israel is to be fulfilled. Although Netanyahu apologized for the Gaza flotilla raid, fulfilling one of the conditions, the two remaining ones — lifting the Gaza blockade and paying compensation for the incident in 2010 — reportedly will not be fulfilled in the exact way that Turkey demands.

Although lifting the Gaza blockade is not a part of the deal, it is reportedly agreed that humanitarian aid to Gaza will be sent if Israeli government approves it after inspecting it in the Ashdod Port.

The Israeli navy killed nine Turkish and one Turkish-American pro-Palestinian activists in 2010, conducting an operation against six civilian ships that belonged to the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The ships fit by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) were carrying humanitarian aid and construction supplies to the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The IHH reacted against the agreement in a series of tweets on Sunday, emphasizing that the blockade of Gaza is has to be lifted because it is unlawful and a crime against the humanity.

“Blockade is different from embargo. The agreement should be based on the conditions of abolishing the blockade, not the embargo. An agreement foreseeing the using of Ashdod port would not weaken the blockade but rather it leads to official recognition of it. The probable agreement conditions that were published in the press will lead to international recognition of the blockade,” the foundation said.

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