Haaretz: Israel and Turkey in secret reconciliation talks

PNN/Bethlehem/

Hebrew newspaper Haaretz on Sunday revealed that Israeli and Turkish officials had been taking part in secret talks in order to improve the relationship between the two countries and seek a reconciliation.

Haaretz said that the General Manager of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Dor Ghewad, secretly met his Turkish counterpart in the Italian capital a number of times in talks on improving Turkish-Israeli relations and resolving past disputes in a reconciliatory spirit.

The newspaper added that after years of a stagnant stalemate between the two countries, negotiations were secretly resuming in Rome during a series of meetings between Ghewad and his Turkish counterpart, Feridun Cemal Erkin.

Haaretz quoted Israeli officials as saying that Ghewad today left for Rome to complete these secret talks, clarifying that Ghewad had had direct communication with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu who is allegedly following the talks very closely.

Israeli officials confirmed that this meeting between the two sides will complete the talks which started at the beginning of February 2014 in the weeks following the parliamentary elections in Turkey in which Prime Minister Erdogan’s party lost after losing the majority vote.

Turkish-Israeli relations deteriorated severely in 2010 after Israel stormed the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara which was part of an aid flotilla attempting to make its way to the besieged Gaza Strip. Relations continued to deteriorate until 2013 when US President Barack Obama visited Israel and set up a phone call between Netanyahu and Erdogan during which Netanyahu apologized for the deaths of Turkish citizens caused by the Israeli Navy.