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End of rift between Turkey and Israel

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Israel and Turkey have normalized relations, ending a six-year rift over the killing by Israeli troops of 10 Turkish activists on a Gaza-bound ship.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was an important step that would boost his country’s economy.download

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed hope it would help improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The deal will allow Turkey to deliver aid to the Palestinian territory and carry out infrastructure projects.

Israel will also pay Ksh 2.025 billion into a compensation fund for the dead activists’ families.

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The agreement, which will be signed on Tuesday, was formally announced by Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Mr Netanyahu in separate speeches in Ankara and Rome on Monday.

Israel and Turkey were close allies before Israeli commandos intercepted the Turkish-owned ship Mavi Marmara, which was part of a flotilla attempting to breach Israel’s blockade of Gaza, on 31 May 2010.

Ten pro-Palestinian Turkish activists, one of them a dual American citizen, were killed and dozens wounded as clashes broke out after the commandos boarded the ship, descending on ropes from helicopters.

The two sides have blamed each other for the violence. The activists said the commandos started shooting as soon as they hit the deck. Israel said the commandos opened fire only after being attacked with clubs, knives and a gun which was taken from them.

A UN inquiry was unable to determine at exactly which point the commandos used live rounds.

 

Story done by Michael Odemba

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