Alwaght- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan convened a cabinet meeting last week to discuss reconciliation with the Israeli regime in addition to Ankara’s part in the Syrian conflict and its ties with Egypt, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported Monday.
During the 9-hour meeting on February 22, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the normalization efforts between the Israeli regime and Turkey were close to being finalized and that the two sides are expected to make a joint statement "in the coming days."
A Spokesperson for Turkey's ruling AKP party, Omer Celik, stated that talks between the two have reached the stage where both sides are prepared to sign a reconciliation deal.
Erdogan told journalists a few months ago that “Turkish-Israeli rapprochement is vital for the region” adding that normalizing ties would be “to the benefit of the whole region.”
Last December, officials from both sides, confirmed that the two US allies in the region held secret talks in Switzerland which also suggested that the Israelis might export natural gas to the Turks.
Normalizing relations between Ankara and the Tel Aviv has been on the regional agenda since 2010 when Ankara-Tel Aviv relations took a downturn after Israeli commandos killed 9 Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American aboard the Mavi Marmara flotilla. The flotilla was carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians in a bid to break an Israeli maritime siege on the impoverished strip.
Despite Erdogan’s rhetoric in which he has verbalized commitment to the Palestinians cause and promised to help ease Gaza’s suffering, it appears that the Turks are willing to turn a blind eye to the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza for the sake of the deal. A framework agreement published by Israeli Daily Haaretz did not include the lifting of the siege as a precondition and it is highly unlikely that the Israelis will concede to such a demand.
Now as Tel Aviv and Ankara appear to be putting the past behind them and opening new doors that may lead to the revival of diplomatic relations, the fate of the Gaza Strip remains up in the