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Israel, Turkey reach draft compensation deal for flotilla victims

Source : Al Arabiya with AFP | 07 May 2013

Compensation for the victims of a 2010 Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla has been agreed on in a draft agreement reached by Israel and Turkey on Monday.

The deal was reached between Turkish officials, headed by the deputy foreign minister, and Israeli government representatives during a meeting in Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Office said a final agreement was expected soon. It did not reveal details on Monday's agreement and said "additional clarifications" were needed on a "few issues," according to AFP news agency.

Israel and Turkey are working to mend ties that were ruptured after the 2010 raid, which killed eight Turks and one Turkish-American when Israeli commandos stormed a ship bound for the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Israel maintains a blockade on the territory.

As part of the U.S.-brokered rapprochement, Israel apologized for the raid and agreed to compensate the injured and relatives of the dead, while Turkey was expected to withdraw legal action against Israeli soldiers.

But families of the victims of an Israeli raid on an aid flotilla spoke out last month against compensation talks between Turkey and Israel, saying the Jewish state must first fully lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip.

In March, U.S. President Barack Obama help broker a rapprochement between the two during a visit to Israel. Despite accepting the apology and agreeing to the normalization of ties,

Turkish leaders have since warned that the restoration of full diplomatic ties with Israel would be dependent on it ending all commercial restrictions against the Palestinians.