Turkey is ready to reopen its diplomatic ties with Israel, it has been announced, following six tense years of detente. The two countries' leaders are set to make full statements on Monday (27 June).
Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel six years ago, after nine Turkish citizens were killed during a raid by Israeli commandos on an aid flotilla headed for the Gaza Strip. They died when the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara was attacked as it attempted to break the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian territory.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently in Rome, meeting the American secretary of State John Kerry to discuss the ongoing Palestinian crisis, and is due to make the announcement in Italy. Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan will make a similar press conference in the country's capital, Ankara.
According to Haaretz, the understanding was reached 10 days ago, following a breakthrough between the two nations concerning Hamas activities in Turkey. Yossi Cohen, chief of the Israeli secret service Mossad, is believed to have made a secret visit to Turkey in order to meet his counterpart in its National Intelligence Organisation, Hakan Fidan, and thrash out a deal to prevent the Palestinian organisation from carrying out on any operations from Turkish territory.
Under the deal, Hamas offices are allowed to continue to operate in Turkey for diplomatic purposes, but military activity is banned. In return, Israel will deposit $20m into a humanitarian fund as compensation for the deaths of the Turks killed in the raid in 2010. Turkey has dropped its former demand for Israel to raise the blockade, but it will now be allowed to build infrastructure in Gaza including a hospital, a power station and a desalination plant.
Hamas' leader, Khaled Meshal, visited Erdogan and his prime minister Binali Yildirim over the weekend, in order, it is understood, to save some face in light of the new deal.