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Posted on: March 24th, 2013 by AlYunaniya Staff No Comments

Erdogan to visit Gaza in April, one day after Israel issues Mavi Marmara apology

Secreatry-General Meets Foreign Minister of Turkey

photo: UN

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Saturday that he will visit Gaza, following Israel’s apology from Turkey over the Mavi Marmara killings, made the previous day.

“It may eventually visit Gaza and the West Bank in April,” state news agency Anatolia quoted Erdogan as saying.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh had already announced March 22, hours after Israel’s apology, that Erdoğan would visit Gaza soon.

Taher al-Nunu, spokesman for Ismael Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas government in the Gaza, confirmed that “Recep Tayyip Erdogan will soon visit the Gaza Strip where he will meet with Prime Minister (Haniyeh)”.

After three years of strained relations Israel issued a formal apology to Turkey and agreed to pay compensation over the Mavi Marmara killings of 2010 on March 22 after a phone conversation between the two countries’ premiers, Benjamin Netanyahu and Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On May 31, 2010 the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) boarded the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara, the largest ship in a flotilla aimed at breaking Israel’s siege on Gaza in May 2010, leaving nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.

Turkey demanded a formal apology but Israel refused to make a formal apology and pay conpensation to families of the dead. As a result, expelled Jerusalem’s ambassador from Ankara.

Diplomatic ties were severely downgraded, ever since.

Meanwhile Foreign Minister Davutoglu said in a statement that tough negotiations were conducted in the last 3 years concerning Turkey’s demands from Israel with a view to normalization of relations and in the end Turkey’s demands were met.

Pointing that the content of the phone call between Prime Minister Erdoğan and Israeli Prime Minister was agreed in advance, Foreign Minister Davutoglu mentioned that negotiations were held through U.S. officials.

Prior to the phone call between the Prime Ministers, officials of Al Fatah, Hamas, Egypt and Qatar were contacted, added Foreign Minister Davutoglu.

Recalling that Israel did not object the compensation but opposed the demand for apology from the very beginning Foreign Minister Davutoglu explained that there would be negotiations concerning the compensation to the victims’ families in respect of international law.

Foreign Minister Davutoglu said that the easing of embargo on Gaza started and stressed that Turkey would closely monitor the practice concerning the embargo.

Foreign Minister Davutoglu pointing the timing of the recent development said that this step would strengthen the position of Palestine and would crystallize Turkey’s role in the Middle East Peace Process.



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