The Israeli premier has described the move as a major step for both countries that will greatly impact Israel’s economy. In 2011, Turkey downgraded relations with Israel after Turkish activists were killed on a flotilla.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said an agreement to normalize ties with Turkey after six years marked “an important step” for the country.
The deal has “immense implications for the Israeli economy, and I use that word advisedly,” Netanyahu told reporters after meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome.
“I mean positive, immense implications,” the Israeli premier said.
The US’ top diplomat also hailed the deal, saying: “We are obviously pleased in the administration. This is a step we wanted to see happen.”
In 2010, Israeli naval commandos raided an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip, killing 10 Turkish activists on board.
The incident prompted Turkey to recall its ambassador from Israel and downgrade military cooperation, marking rising tensions between the two US allies.
‘A certain point’
Israel is expected to provide $20 million (18.1 million euros) to a victims’ fund for the families of those killed on the Mavi Marmara ship. In return, Ankara will withdraw lawsuits against the Israeli commandos at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.
The deal has been months in the making, with Israel searching for a potential customer for its offshore gas exports and Turkey aiming to prop up its regional clout.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus on Monday said that the deal had been reached on Sunday.
“A certain point was reached in talks on June 26 and this will be announced in a simultaneous statement by both prime ministers at 1:00 p.m. (1000 GMT),” he told reporters.
Last week, Israel announced it would open a mission at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels, a move long stymied by alliance member Turkey.
ls/msh (Reuters, AFP, dpa)