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TURKEY, ISRAEL IN TALKS, MAY REACH DEAL SOON: TURKISH OFFICIAL

TURKEY, ISRAEL IN TALKS, MAY REACH DEAL SOON: TURKISH OFFICIAL

A Turkish government official has confirmed to Hürriyet Daily News that Israeli and Turkish officials held talks in Switzerland over the broken ties and may reach a deal soon.“We have not reached an agreement yet” the official said, while responding...

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A Turkish government official has confirmed to Hürriyet Daily News that Israeli and Turkish officials held talks in Switzerland over the broken ties and may reach a deal soon.

“We have not reached an agreement yet” the official said, while responding to a question on reports that said the two countries had reached a preliminary deal. “But [talks] may result soon,” the official said.

Talks with Israel have been ongoing for some time, Turkish Prime Ministry officials told Hürriyet Daily News, adding that talks were continuing in a positive manner, but no consensus had been reached.

Israel and Turkey have reached a preliminary agreement to normalize relations, including the return of ambassadors to both countries, Reuters quoted an Israeli official as saying earlier Dec 17.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry official told Hürriyet Daily News that the two countries have come to an understanding. The official said Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu represented Turkey at the talks in Switzerland.

A preliminary deal was reached during a recent meeting in Switzerland between the incoming head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Yossi Cohen, Israeli envoy Joseph Ciechanover and Sinirlioğlu, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined comment and there was no immediate comment from the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

According to the report, under the preliminary agreement, Israel will establish a compensation fund for the Mavi Marmara incident during which Israeli marines killed 10 Turks aboard an aid ship that tried to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2010. After the fund is established, Turkey will drop all claims against Israel. The Israel-Turkey alliance ties deteriorated greatly after the incident.

Efforts to reconcile the countries, including in a 2013 phone call between Erdoğan and Netanyahu that was brokered by U.S. President Barack Obama, have yet to yield a final deal restoring full diplomatic ties.

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