Israel is likely to sign soon on the dotted line and pay millions of dollars to families of terrorists who were “victims” of Israeli soldiers who preferred to kill rather than be killed in the Mavi Mamara clash on the high seas four years ago, Turkey’s deputy prime minster said Tuesday.
A compensation agreement may be signed after local Turkish elections March 30, according to Bülent Arınç and reported by Turkey’s Hurriyet News, but local election results in favor of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s could go to his inflated head and encourage him to up the ante.
The exact amount of money has not been announced, but Turkey previously floated the sum of one million dollars for each family so Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu can believe President Barack Obama will work with Turkey on behalf of Israel in the event of an attack Iran, in which case using Turkish air space could be crucial.
Obama’s ability to manipulate Turkish-Israeli ties also gives him diplomatic patsies in a region where the United States has lost all respect and whose influence can only be measured in dollars.
After a deep freeze in relations, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu suddenly announced a year ago that Israel indeed was so sorry it had to use force to kill nine Turkish civilian terrorists, one of them with dual American citizenship, who kidnapped at least three Navy commandos and knifed and shot others.
The commandos, in accordance with international law as later affirmed by the United Nations, boarded the Mavi Mamara to prevent it from continuing to Hamas-controlled Gaza, where an embargo is in place to prevent terrorists and arms from reaching shore.
Netanyahu’s apology came almost momentarily after Obama, during his first and probably last visit to Israel as president, convinced Netanyahu to make a 30-minute telephone call to Erdoğan to express his sorrow.
The reconciliation has been stuck because of lack of agreement on how much Israeli taxpayers’’ money will be used to buy off Turkey.
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Once there is an agreement after the elections, which are occupying the Turkish government’s attention at the moment, Israel and Turkey will resume diplomatic ties and restore their ambassadors, Annc said.
The compensation deal needs approval by the Turkish parliament.
Annc cited President Obama’s involvement, saying, “The lion’s share in the success belongs to Mr. Obama. President Obama used his influence on Israel and appealed for a compromise.”