Israel and Turkey Normalize Ties, Turkey Tries to Mend Fences with Russia

Israel and Turkey signed an agreement Tuesday to restore ties following a rift of six years. The two countries formalized their agreement that Ban Ki-moon the Secretary General of the U.N. said sent a signal of hope for regional stability.

The accord, which was announced Monday by each prime minister of the two countries, was a rapprochement that is rare in a Middle East that is very divided. However, it was driven by a prospect of lucrative gas deals in the Mediterranean along with the mutual fears over growing risks in security.

On Tuesday, in Ankara the deal was formally signed by Feridum Sinirlioglu the Foreign Ministry Undersecretary in Turkey and in Jerusalem Dore Gold the Foreign Ministry Director General of Israel, said officials.

Relations between Israel and Turkey, once the biggest Muslim ally, fell apart after marines from Israel stormed an activist ship back in May of 2010 to enforce their naval blockade of the Gaza Strip’s Hamas and killed 10 Turks who were on board.

Under this new deal, the Gaza naval blockade, which Turkey wanted lifted, will remain, although humanitarian aid will be allowed to continue to be transferred via ports in Israel to Gaza.

Binali Yildirim the Prime Minister of Turkey said late Monday that the two countries might make appointments of ambassadors in a couple of weeks.

Israel already has offered apologies for the raid in 2010 and agreed to pay $20 million to the injured and bereaved. The deal requires that the government of Turkey pass new legislation indemnifying the soldiers from Israel.

Ban during a meeting with the president of Israel in Jerusalem said the agreement was important as well as a hopeful signal for stability across the region.

Visiting the UN operated school and a rehabilitation hospital built by Qatar, on Tuesday in the Gaza Strip, Ban called for Israel to end its blockade.

Israel says that the blockade of Gaza is necessary to curb the smuggling of arms by Hamas, the Islamist group it last fought against back in 2014.

Turkey also has attempted to mend its relations with Russia. Recep Tayyip Erdogan the President of Turkey sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin that said he regretted the combat plane from Russia had been shot down last November.

That incident plunged the ties between Turkey and Russia into crisis. The news of an effort of reconciliation came just hours after Turkey had signed an agreement with Israel to repair its relations.

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