An Israeli delegation met with a senior Turkish diplomat in Istanbul last week as part of compensation talks for the Mavi Marmara raid victims, a Turkish Foreign Ministry official has told the Hurriyet Daily News.
"As we said earlier, the talks did not stop. The recent meeting is a part of the ongoing process," the official said.
An Israeli delegation headed by National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's envoy to the reconciliation talks with Turkey, Joseph Ciechanover, and acting Foreign Ministry Director General Nissim Ben-Sheetrit met with Undersecretary of Foreign Ministry Feridun Sinirlioglu last week, daily Haaretz revealed Dec. 23.
"The agreement is ready; all that's left is to fill in the blank with a number. There are still differences regarding the amounts, but they have narrowed," Haaretz quoted a senior Israeli official as saying.
"There is a will on both sides to wrap things up as soon as possible and normalize relations," said the daily.
Elaborating on the daily's report which suggested that the Turkish government had become more flexible on the question of compensation for the Mavi Marmara raid victims and offered to accept a lower payoff from Israel, the official objected to notions that the process was merely a negotiation over money.
The Turkish diplomat declined to elaborate on the content of the meeting, but reiterated Turkey's principles for the process of compensation.
"Justice is our priority; international standards and practices, as well as a workable process in the framework that Turkey has put forward, are the other principles," the diplomat said.
Turkey and Israel launched compensation talks for the Mavi Marmara victims after Israel's prime minister issued an apology to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his navy's raid on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla in 2010, which killed nine Turks.
A Turkish and Israeli official held two rounds of talks for compensation, but the process has been in limbo for several months.
Last week, Israel said it would renew regular flights to Turkey following a hiatus of more than five years, Israeli Transportation Minister Israel Katz said.
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