Deal with Israel not to affect stance on Palestine, Turkey says

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published 28.06.2016 19:36
Updated 28.06.2016 19:37
emAFP Photo/em
AFP Photo

Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said Tuesday that the deal reached between Turkey and Israel will not affect Turkey's stance on Palestine, adding that the two countries will start the process of exchanging ambassadors this week.

Speaking to reporters in a press conference, Kalın said that a team of experts will also be sent to Gaza this week for the initial investigations needed for the rebuilding of the city.

In a compromise, the deal signed on Tuesday will see Turkey invest in Palestinian infrastructure and deliver aid to Gaza residents via Israel's Ashdod port rather than directly to Gaza.

However, the naval blockade itself will remain in place.

Kalın added that the departure of a Turkish ship on Friday, carrying 10,000 tonnes of aid, would be "the first test to see if Israel will play a facilitator role" in easing the blockade.

A new hospital for Gaza, to be opened as part of the deal, will be operational in two or three months, Kalın said.

Turkey-Israel relations were strained following an Israeli commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid convoy that left 10 Turkish activists dead in 2010.

Israel had already offered compensation and an apology over the raid but had not met Turkey's third condition for restored ties -- the Jewish state's naval blockade on Gaza -- as the main obstacle.

In 2013, Netanyahu voiced his regret for the attack.

On Monday, months of talks between the two countries finally bore fruit, with Turkey announcing that a deal would be signed the following day, normalizing relations with Israel.

According to the deal, Israel will pay $20 million in compensation to the families of the Mavi Marmara victims.

Also, 10,000 tons of supplies will sail to Gaza from Turkey on Friday, Yıldırım announced on Monday.

Germany welcomed the reconciliation and Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told a news conference in Berlin it would have positive impact on regional stability.

"The rapprochement between these two important countries, two close partners of Germany, is a contribution to stability in the region," he said. "We hope that yesterday's agreement will lead to a permanent improvement in relations. There is a big potential for a close cooperation between these countries, both in terms of economic and political cooperation."

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