A critical step to establishing reconciliation between Turkey and Israel after the deadly Mavi Marmara attack by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) was reportedly taken with a secret meeting held in Rome between the Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Hadi Sinirlioğlu and recently appointed Director-General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry Dore Gold.
In the secret meeting that came years after the deadly attack on a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid shipin international waters, three conditions from Turkey were brought to the table once again during the talks, which are removing the blockade of Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's apology to Turkey and compensation to the families of those who lost their lives in the attack.
Netanyahu apologized to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan with the mediation of U.S. President Barack Obama. A formula to agree over the other two conditions has been found as Israel will provide convenience for goods-carrying to Gaza and it will not prevent medicine and humanitarian aid from reaching Gaza. Over the compensation, both countries reportedly agreed, although no definite information has been given over the amount.
Diplomatic sources claimed that both countries are close to a compromise on these conditions and when representatives from both sides come to terms on the draft agreement, it will be handed to the countries' governments to receive approval. They also added that the secret meeting in Rome was not the first one as representatives from the two countries convened before to discuss ways to mend ties. Reportedly, there may be more summits if either government demands a change in the draft.
It is expected that Netanyahu will hand the draft over to the Israeli Ministerial Cabinet for approval, as Parliament will take over the duty of approving the draft in Turkey.
The Mavi Marmara attack that froze ties between the countries happened when a second flotilla organized by the international Free Gaza Movement and Turkish nongovernmental organization Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) and known as the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, was raided by Israeli forces in international waters in 2010. Ten were killed and 55 were wounded in the attack on the flotilla's main ship, the Mavi Marmara. In March 2013, Netanyahu expressed his regret for the Mavi Marmara killings over the phone next to Obama who brokered the deal. Even though the phone conversation opened a door to negotiations, the negotiations were later stalled. Israel agreed to increase reparations for the victims to $20 million and a draft of an agreement between the two states was written in February 2014.