Turkey, Israel on brink of finalizing agreement, report says

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 20.06.2016 13:17

Turkey and Israel are about to finalize a reconciliation agreement in a decisive round of talks on June 26, a report in the Israeli Haaretz daily claimed on Sunday.

Citing a senior official, the report said that the meeting, which is expected to be held in a European capital, would be the last meeting between the negotiating teams.

Citing the official, the report said that there is not much time until the two countries reach an agreement after a six-year break in relations due in part to the Mavi Marmara crisis in May 2010.

The report also indicated that Turkey's lifting its veto on cooperation between Israel and NATO and sending senior officials from the Foreign Ministry to attend the annual Independence Day reception at the Israeli Embassy led to significant progress in the agreement.

However, Israel claims that Hamas has military offices in Istanbul. Touching on this issue, the report says that Israel demands Turkey shut down those offices as a condition for the agreement, and a formula to overcome this dispute has been reached in recent weeks.

The last few months have seen solid progress made in terms of restoring bilateral relationships through meetings of negotiating teams. During this process, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had said in a speech at the Brookings Institute in April that he expects a positive result in bilateral talks by mid-April. The meeting to finalize the negotiations was already meant to take place in mid-May.

The process was postponed due to former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's resignation and the election of Binali Yıldırım to replace him.

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