MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Tel Aviv and Ankara are "very close" to reaching a reconciliation agreement, after almost six years of tensions, Israeli Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Gallant said on Thursday.
"This agreement is significant for Israel from a national security perspective, and its economic significance is far reaching and has ramifications in the spheres of tourism and energy, and has the potential of influencing the construction sector as well… The agreements between us and the Turks are ready in almost all aspects," Gallant said, as quoted by the Jerusalem Post.
Relations between Israel and Turkey deteriorated after the Freedom Flotilla incident in 2010, when a convoy of six ships, including one under Turkey's 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.
In late March, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that his country was ready to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel. The following month, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced that the bilateral talks on normalizing the relations reached certain progress.