- Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said progress was made with Israel on the issue of compensation for Mavi Marmara victims, adding that Turkey had not changed its three conditions for normalization of ties between the two countries.
“There has been progress made about the second condition, the one with compensation, but we have not reached a point where we can ink it” Kalın told reporters on Dec. 28 at a press conference.
Kalın reiterated that three conditions must be met by Israel for the normalization of relations between the two countries and that Turkey will not take a step back regarding the Palestinian cause.
He said Israel has met first condition by apologizing to Turkey, and added that two more demands were still on the table: compensation for Mavi Marmara victims and the “lift or bend” of an embargo implemented by Israel on Gaza Strip.
“There is also the third condition. Lifting or easing the blockade on Gaza, namely to send humanitarian aid going to Gaza” said Kalın.
Relations with Israel have been tense since May 31, 2010, when Israeli forces raided a Gaza-bound flotilla of mainly Turkish activists, killing 10 people aboard the Mavi Marmara, the largest of the six vessels in the flotilla.
“Turkey will continue to play its role until a two-state solution is reached, and the Palestinian people have their own state. There cannot be permanent peace in the region until the Palestinian problem is solved,” Kalın added.
Meanwhile, cleaning up the Islamic State (IS) from the Tishrin Dam by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is a positive development for Turkey, but fait accompli in the west of Euphrates or another region in Syria by the YPG is unacceptable, Kalın said.
The same day, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said the YPG had not crossed west of Euphrates, but rather Arab groups acting with coalition forces had, while speaking in Serbia.
Kalın also added fire to the Turkey's current protest of Russian aerial attacks in Syria. Russia does not fight IS in Syria, which they have made clear by supporting Assad, he stated. Only 191 of 4,200 airstrikes by Russia have targeted IS positions, according to the spokesperson. He alleged that the IS locations provided to Russia by Assad regime have no relation with IS, since “those people are ordinary people trying to live in honor.”
Turkey actively participates in the U.S.-led coalition against IS and has deported over 2,800 suspects coming from 89 countries, while putting travel bans on 34,000 people from 123 countries. Some 1,000 suspects were detained in Turkey, he added.
Stressing that Turkey deployed training personnel, not combat forces in Iraq's Mosul, negotiations with the Iraqi government continue on the issue of the Bashiqa camp, which caused relations between Iraq and Turkey to curdle when Turkey reinforced its troops on Dec. 4, Kalın noted.
Turkey favors the territorial integrity of Iraq, Kalın said, after questions on Barzani's recent statement on independent Kurdistan.
Meanwhile, a visit to the U.S to be made by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is planned for 2016, where he will attend the opening ceremony for a Maryland mosque, he stated.