Turkey, Israel make progress on deal to normalize ties: Turkish ministry

Updated: 2016-04-08 15:26


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ANKARA - Turkish and Israeli officials have met in London and agreed to finalize the deal in the next round of talks for the normalization of diplomatic relations, the Turkish foreign ministry said Friday.

The Turkish and Israeli negotiating teams, headed by under secretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Feridun Sinirlioglu, Israeli prime minister's special envoy Joseph Ciechanover and acting chairman of the National Security Council General Jacob Nagel, met in London on Friday, a written statement released by the Turkish foreign ministry said.

"The teams made progress towards finalizing the agreement and closing the gaps, and agreed that the deal will be finalized in the next meeting which will be convened very soon," said the statement.

Bilateral ties between the two countries, once close, collapsed in 2010 over the killing by Israeli marines of 10 Turkish pro-Palestinian activists who tried to breach the blockade on Gaza Strip.

Following the assault, the two countries demoted the level of their diplomatic relations, as Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador in Ankara on September 2011.

Last December, Israeli and Turkish officials reached a preliminary agreement to normalize relations, including returning ambassadors to both countries, as Israel agreed to pay 20 million U.S. dollars as compensation for Mavi Marmara victims.

Ankara also insists on condition for ending the Gaza blockade.