Turkey says close to deal with Israel on normalisation

map_of_turkeyTurkey and Israel are nearing agreement on a deal to normalise ties after positive progress was made on Ankara’s key demands in closed-door negotiations, a Turkish official said on Friday.

Israeli officials had the day earlier revealed that Israel and Turkey in secret talks in Switzerland had reached “understandings” to normalise ties that were downgraded following the deadly 2010 Israeli commando raid on a Turkish aid ship headed for the Gaza Strip.

A senior Turkish government official, who asked not to be named, told reporters that progress had been made on Turkey’s key demands of lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip and compensation over the 2010 raid.

“We are close to a final framework” for a deal on the normalisation of ties, said the official. “There is tangible, positive progress.”

The official emphasised that no final agreement had yet been signed but said Ankara hoped the two sides would come to a final accord soon.

“We hope it will not last long” before there is an agreement, said the official.

The official did not confirm Israeli media reports that Turkey will prevent senior Hamas operative Salah Aruri from entering its territory and acting from there.

“We did not discuss specific names. If Israel has that demand it will be discussed,” said the official.

Once the normalisation was agreed, individual issues could be discussed such as Turkey importing gas from Israel, added the official.

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