By Ayşe Ulutaş
Six years after an Israeli raid killed Turkish activists on a Gaza-bound flotilla aiming to deliver aid to Palestinians, Turkey and Israel decided to restore diplomatic relations.
On Monday, Prime ministers of both countries simultaneously announced that Turkey and Israel have reached an agreement to normalize ties. Based on the agreement, a $20 million compensation fund will be given to Turkish victims’ families by Israel government and ambassadors to Ankara and Tel Aviv will return in July.
In addition to the plans for compensation and the return of ambassadors, Turkey has decided to end all claims against Israeli military and the State of Israel as a result of the Israeli raid on the flotilla.
While Turkey also had demanded that Israel lifts its blockade on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, Israel wanted Turkey to prevent Hamas leaders from operating within the country.
Instead of lifting Gaza blockade, Israel allowed Turkey to build a hospital in Gaza; and all restrictions on the supply of equipment, drugs and staff to the medical facility will be lifted. Under the control of Israel, Turkey can also construct power plant in Gaza by collaborating with Germany and send humanitarian aid to Gaza through the Israeli port of Ashdod rather than sending it directly to the Palestinian enclave.
According to experts at USAK Center for Middle East and African Studies, Osman Bahadır Dinçer and Büşra Nur Özgüler, these are not extra-gains, instead, the situation related to Gaza returned to what it had been before the Mavi Marmara incident.
USAK experts also claimed that deepening of the regional crisis makes it necessary for the region’s relatively stable countries, including Turkey, to reshape their current political approaches on a real ground.
Additionally, USAK President Özdem Sanberk warned that both countries should be prudent in their statements for the permanent normalized relations.