Important that Israel lifts Gaza blockade, obstacles to aid for Palestine: Turkish FM

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published 07.06.2016 12:39
Updated 07.06.2016 17:18
Israeli flag flutters in the wind as a naval vessel (not seen) escorts the Mavi Marmara, a Gaza-bound ship that was raided by Israeli marines, in this May 31, 2010 file picture. (Reuters)
Israeli flag flutters in the wind as a naval vessel (not seen) escorts the Mavi Marmara, a Gaza-bound ship that was raided by Israeli marines, in this May 31, 2010 file picture. (Reuters)

Turkey is one or two meetings away from normalizing ties with Israel, and it is important that Israel lifts obstacles preventing aid from reaching Palestine and Gaza, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday.

Çavuşoğlu discussed relations with Israel during an interview with state broadcaster TRT Haber.

The reconciliation deal between Turkey and Israel is not yet finalized; however, the two sides have made significant progress on details to finalize the agreement, Turkish officials said last week. The officials told Daily Sabah that Israel met two of the three conditions which Turkey set for normalizing relations between the countries, partially frozen five years ago. However, the two sides are yet to agree on the final condition: The ending of the blockade on Gaza.

Turkey was a key regional backer of Israel until the two countries cut ties in 2010 following the deaths of 10 Turkish activists on a Turkish aid ship bound for Gaza due to a raid by Israeli commandos.

Israel apologized to Turkey in 2013, in what many thought would trigger a warming in ties, but tensions rose in 2014 after Israel launched a military offensive in Gaza.

After years of bitter accusations and inflammatory rhetoric, the two sides held secret talks in December to seek a rapprochement, with another round taking place in February in Geneva.

Çavuşoğlu also said that Turkey would have to suspend the agreement with the European Union to stem the flow of migrants into the bloc, if the EU rescinded their deal to grant visa-free travel to Turks. Çavuşoğlu said, "This is not a threat or blackmail. If one doesn't come into effect, the other won't come into effect either."

Çavuşoğlu added that the German government must make clear their distance from a resolution which passed the German parliament, the Bundestag, recognizing the 1915 events as genocide.

After years of bitter accusations and inflammatory rhetoric, the two sides held secret talks in December to seek a rapprochement, with another round taking place in February in Geneva.

On Tuesday, Çavuşoğlu also said that Turkey would have to suspend its agreement with the European Union to stem the flow of migrants into the bloc if there is no deal to grant visa-free travel to Turks.

Çavuşoğlu said, "This is not a threat or blackmail. If one doesn't come into effect, the other won't come into effect either."

In the live televised interview, Çavuşoğlu said the German government must make clear its stance is not in line with a German parliament resolution declaring the 1915 events as "genocide."

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