PressTV: Turkey, Israel officials to discuss roadmap for closer cooperation



Turkish ambassador to Israel Kemal Okem hands his diplomatic credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem al-Quds, December 12, 2016. (Photo by AFP)
Turkish ambassador to Israel Kemal Okem hands his diplomatic credentials to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Jerusalem al-Quds, December 12, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Israel and Turkey are reportedly drafting a “roadmap” to promote their cooperation in different areas, months after the two sides reached an agreement to normalize their ties.

The undersecretaries of the Turkish and Israeli foreign ministries are scheduled to meet within a month to discuss the issue, Hurriyet Daily News cited a Turkish Foreign Ministry official as saying on Wednesday.

The two sides plan high-level visits to discuss the outcome of the upcoming “political consultations” on a series of domestic and regional issues, according to the report.

A visit by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to the Israeli-occupied territories will be on the agenda.

The two sides are also expected to upgrade a free trade agreement and the lifting of visa procedures.

The official added that Ankara and Tel Aviv will also hold talks on cooperation and information sharing on regional issues, including the crisis in Syria, where the two sides have long been supporting the Takfiri militants operating against the Damascus government.

On Wednesday, Israel’s Haaretz daily also reported that Yuval Rotem, the director general of the regime’s ministry for foreign affairs, would visit Ankara in two weeks for talks.

Haartez cited a senior Israeli official as saying that Rotem and his Turkish counterpart would exchange views on issues including the situation in Syria, ties with Russia and the situation in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

In June 2016, Israel and Turkey reached an agreement on the normalization of their relations six years after an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla killed 10 Turkish activists in high seas and sent their ties spiraling into a cycle of tensions in May 2010.

Ankara initially reacted with fury. It suspended its military ties with Israel and expelled the Israeli envoy from Ankara in September 2010 over Tel Aviv’s refusal to apologize for the killings.

However, Turkey gradually engaged in not-so-public talks with the Israeli regime to mend ties. Since last December, the two sides have held several rounds of talks aimed at restoring the tense bilateral ties.

Among Turkey’s key conditions for the reconciliation accord with Israel were an apology and compensations, which are said to have been largely met. However, the main hurdle to the agreement is reported to be the lifting of Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip.

The two sides have reached a compromise on the issue, according to which Turkey will be allowed to send aid for Palestinians via Ashdod in the occupied territories rather than directly to Gaza.

Many Muslim nations condemn the Israeli regime’s occupation of Palestine and other Arab territories and have no diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv.


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