Yildirim hints at moves to mend ties with US, Egypt
Istanbul—The Turkish parliament approved a deal to normalise ties with Israel after a delay caused by last month´s attempted coup, state-run media reported Saturday.
Lawmakers ratified late Friday the agreement to restore relations between the two former close regional allies after a six-year rift, before parliament was due to go into summer recess.
Under the deal, Israel will pay Turkey $20 million (17.7 million euros) in compensation for a botched Israeli commando raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship in 2010 that left 10 Turks dead, state-run Anadolu news agency said.
Israel will hand Turkey a “lump sum” within 25 working days of the agreement coming into force, the agency said, which families of the victims will receive in due course.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Saturday struck a conciliatory note on Turkey’s ties with the United States and at the same time expressed his country’s desire to repair its ties with Egypt.
Yildirim said the United States was Turkey’s “strategic partner, not our enemy” despite Ankara’s anger at Washington for failing to extradite Fethullah Gulen, whom it blames for last month’s failed coup.
“There can be ups and downs in the two countries’ relations (but) we need to remove elements that harm our relations,” he told journalists in Istanbul, referring to the Pennsylvania-based cleric. Ankara has for years accused Gulen of running a “parallel state” in Turkey and it also blamed him for ordering the failed putsch of July 15.
The White House has confirmed that US Vice President Joe Biden will visit Ankara next week in the highest-ranking visit to Turkey by any Western official since the coup.
Yildirim also confirmed a technical delegation would arrive on August 22 for talks with Turkey’s judicial authorities ahead of Biden’s visit. “I hope this process will be finalized in a way favoured by both countries, and (that) questions in the minds of Turkish people about America will be removed.”—Agencies