Landmark understandings reached in meetings in Switzerland Wednesday between designated Israeli Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen and Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglui have resulted in Israel’s consent to set up a $20m fund for the victims of the Turkish ship boarded by Israeli soldiers three years ago. No more claims against Israel over the episode will be outstanding and the two ambassadors will return to their posts in Tel Aviv and Ankara. This package is subject to signing by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and president Tayyip Erdogan.
Ankara agreed to ban Palestinian Hamas terror master Salah Arouri’s reentry to his base in Istanbul when he tries to return from a visit to Qatar – a goodwill gesture to Israel. The two parties agreed to launch negotiations without delay on the sale of Israeli offshore gas to Turkey. Ankara also offered to start talking about a pipeline to Europe via Turkey from the largest Israeli gas well, Leviathan, when it goes into production.
On Dec. 14, DEBKAfile reported that this breakthrough was in the works, propelled by Turkey’s pressing bid for Israeli gas.