Turkish - Israeli relations will not return to normal until Israel lifts its strict blockade on the Gaza Strip and signs a protocol agreement between both countries, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday. Before starting the negotiations over the issue in March 2013, Erdogan said: “We have said: An apology will be made, compensation will be paid and the blockade on Palestine will be lifted. There will be no normalisation without these. ” He also insisted that “normalisation will happen the moment there is an implementation. But if there is no implementation” for the conditions he mentioned then relations will not return to how they were. In a press conference with his Spanish counterpart held in Ankara, Erdogan said he received an apology from Israel, but compensation discussions are still ongoing. He added that if the Israeli siege, which has been imposed on Gaza since 2006, isn’t lifted it would “mean that nothing has happened”.
Israeli media said on Tuesday that Israel would pay $20 million to the families of the Turks who were killed and wounded in the Israeli attack on the Turkish aid ship which was heading to Gaza in 2010. Israeli TV Channel II said that a Turkish-Israeli deal is imminent, but Turks are opposed to a certain article in it. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said in a TV interview on Sunday that a deal is coming soon as differences between both sides were significantly reduced. He did not announce a date for the signature of the deal. Israeli commandos attacked an aid convoy, known as the Freedom Flotilla, headed to the Gaza Strip through the Mediterranean, killing nine Turks and wounding several others. The aid convoy was aimed at breaking the siege on Gaza. Consequently, Ankara recalled its ambassador to Israel and severed ties with Tel-Aviv. Turkey called for Israel to apologise, pay compensations and lift the siege on Gaza to regain normal ties.