Turkey has delayed the start of talks this week with Israel over compensation that the Jewish state will pay to victims of a deadly 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, the government said.
“The compensation meeting with Israel has been delayed to April 21 or 22,” Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting late Monday.
Arinc, who was due to head the Turkish side during the talks, said the meetings had to be rescheduled because he would be accompanying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on a trip to Kyrgyzstan this week.
The news of the delay came a day after the victims of the raid said they would not withdraw their lawsuit against Israeli commanders despite the official Turkey-Israel compensation talks.
Israeli and Turkish officials were originally scheduled to meet on April 12 for breakthrough negotiations over compensation for the raid, for which the Jewish state apologized last month.
Ties between Israel and its closest Muslim ally Turkey hit an all-times low in May 2010 when Israeli commandos staged a botched pre-dawn raid on a six-ship flotilla to the Gaza Strip, killing nine Turkish nationals.
The assault triggered an international outcry and severely damaged relations between regional allies Turkey and Israel, with Ankara demanding a formal apology and compensation for the families of the victims.
Erdogan accepted the US-engineered apology “in the name of the Turkish people” but said the country's future relationship with Israel would depend on the Jewish state.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who visited Istanbul on Sunday, called on Turkey and Israel to fully normalize their ties.
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