The New has been in the Air since this Morning in Ankara and in Tel Aviv ; Israel and Turkey finally agreed to normalize their diplomatic relations that were stuck since the incident of the Mavi Marmara in 2010.
Still despite the joy and the good news , the two leaders are facing stiff opposition at home. Families of the three Israeli soldiers, who are detained by Hamas in Gaza Strip, have launched a campaign entitled: “No Reconciliation without Freedom.” Indeed Turkey is hosting Hamas’ leadership. They are calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to prevent signing this deal before releasing the soldiers, whether dead or alive.
Turkish officials said this week that a draft agreement between the two countries is expected to be concluded.
Relations have been in crisis ever since nine Turkish civilians were killed by Israeli naval commandos on a Turkish flotilla to Gaza in May 2010.
The Turkish officials’ comments confirm what senior officials in Jerusalem have said in recent days.The senior Turkish officials told Hurriyet that immediately after the reconciliation agreement is officially signed, the process to normalize ties will begin.Ambassadors will be appointed and diplomatic relations will be raised to the highest level.
According to the officials, the two countries will lift sanctions and restrictions with regard to international agreements, as well as joint military exercises, energy cooperation and import and export of defense equipment.
Israel and Turkey have reached a compromise on the third condition posed by Ankara – lifting the siege on Gaza.
Turkey in effect gave up on a full elimination of the siege on Gaza and the easing of the maritime blockade. As per the agreement, Turkey can send aid to Gaza, but it has to pass through Israel’s Ashdod Port.
Israel also agreed to let Turkey build a hospital in Gaza and lift all restrictions on the supply of equipment, drugs and staff to the medical facility.
Jerusalem also has approved the construction of a power plant in Gaza, which Turkey will build in collaboration with Germany, as well as the construction of a desalination facility.