Middle East

Turkey, Israel to meet Monday on raid compensation

File picture shows an undated handout image taken from the Free Gaza Movement website on May 28, 2010 of the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara taking part in the "Freedom Flotilla" heading towards the Gaza Strip. AFP PHOTO / FREE GAZA MOVEMENT

ANKARA: Turkish and Israeli officials will meet on Monday in Israel for another round of talks over compensation for a deadly 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, a diplomatic source told AFP.

"The second round of negotiations will be held in Israel tomorrow," the source said on Sunday, without elaborating.

An initial meeting was held in Ankara on April 22 to discuss the amount and the terms of the payment for the compensation by Israel, which Turkey has named as a precondition for normalisation of diplomatic ties.

That meeting was the first stage of what Turkish officials have said would be a multi-step diplomatic process that could finally reinstate bilateral ties between the former allies.

Monday's talks will see Turkish diplomats officially visit Israel for the first time in three years since Israeli commandos staged a botched pre-dawn raid on a aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip, killing nine Turkish nationals.

Following the first round of talks, Ankara had said "initial parameters" were set and a framework was established, but the amount was still to be discussed.

The maritime assault had severely wrecked relations between the regional allies, with Ankara demanding a formal apology and compensation for the families of the raid victims, as well as the lifting of an Israeli blockade on Gaza.

Compensation talks were finally initiated in late March, after Israel extended a formal apology to Turkey to get the rocky relations back on track.





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