Turkey, Israel Sign Agreement on Normalization of Bilateral Ties

© REUTERS / Baz RatnerA Turkish flag flutters atop the Turkish embassy as an Israeli flag is seen nearby, in Tel Aviv, Israel June 26, 2016
A Turkish flag flutters atop the Turkish embassy as an Israeli flag is seen nearby, in Tel Aviv, Israel June 26, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Turkey and Israel on Tuesday signed an agreement in Rome on normalizing diplomatic relations, ending a six-year period of tense relations, Turkish media reported, citing foreign ministry sources.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) According to the Daily Sabah newspaper, the Turkish side was represented by the Foreign Ministry’s Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu at the signing of the deal in the Italian capital.

On Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Benali Yildirim announced the restart of diplomatic ties with Israel. Yildirim said the two countries’ embassies would subsequently reopen. Israel has also agreed to pay $20 million to the victims of the 2010 Freedom Flotilla incident, the prime minister added.

Relations between Israel and Turkey deteriorated after the Freedom Flotilla incident in 2010, when a convoy of six ships, including one sailing under a Turkish flag, tried to approach the Gaza Strip with humanitarian aid and activists on board. The flotilla was blocked and stormed by Israeli forces, resulting in eight Turkish citizens being killed.

Turkey responded by expelling the Israeli ambassador from the country, recalling its ambassador from Israel and demanding a formal apology from Israel, as well as compensation for the victims' families.

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