“Israel and Turkey resume conciliation talks”

isssSenior Israeli and Turkish diplomats have recently held a secret meeting in the Italian capital city of Rome and renewed conciliation talks between the two estranged states, a leading Israeli daily newspaper reported.

“After over a year of deep freeze in Israeli-Turkish ties, talks about a reconciliation agreement between the two nations have resumed with a secret meeting between Foreign Minister Director General Dore Gold and his Turkish counterpart, [Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary] Feridun Sinirlioğlu,” English-language daily Haaretz reported late June 22.

Officials at the Turkish Foreign Ministry, approached by Hürriyet Daily News on June 23, declined to comment on the report. The same officials, speaking under customary condition of anonymity, neither declined nor confirmed the report.

Turkey’s relations have been tense with Israel since nine Turks and one Turkish-American were killed, and several other pro-Palestinian activists were wounded when Israeli commandos stormed the ship Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010, which was trying to break the blockade on Gaza. The relationship between the two countries has worsened since then, with both sides withdrawing their ambassadors and reducing their diplomatic representation in each other’s capitals.

Numerous efforts to normalize ties between Turkey and Israel have failed, including the one initiated by U.S. President Barack Obama in March 2013. At the time, Israel bowed to a long-standing demand by Ankara, once a close strategic partner, to apologize formally for the deaths aboard Mavi Marmara. Yet, an agreement to normalize relations has not been accomplished. In recent years, Turkish and Israeli officials have often engaged in wars of words, criticizing each other’s policies.

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