By Ilhan Toprak and Enes Kaplan
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish reconciliation with Israel will not change Ankara’s relationship with Palestine, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Tuesday.
“This deal does not mean that Ankara will change its policy on Palestine,” he said during a book fair in capital Ankara.
“Our stance on the Palestinian issue, its independence, the two-state solution and the improvement of living conditions for people in Gaza and the end of occupation is obvious. It has not changed and will not change.”
On Tuesday, Turkey and Israel signed an agreement to resume diplomatic relations six years after the Mavi Marmara incident that saw the two states break off ties.
Ten Turkish activists were killed in May 2010 when Israeli commandos stormed the aid ship as it attempted to deliver supplies to Gaza in breach of Israel’s blockade of the Palestinian enclave.
Under the reconciliation deal, Turkey will supply aid to Gaza and initiate projects to restore the area’s battered infrastructure.
One aid ship is due to set off for Gaza on Friday and Kalin signaled that more would follow. He added that a team of technicians would arrive in Gaza this week to start work on the electricity and water networks.
“The deal paves the way for the necessary steps to be taken quickly to bring a sigh of relief to the people of Gaza,” Kalin said.
In further attempts to restore relations overseas, Kalin said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. Russia imposed a range of sanctions against Turkey following the downing of a Russian fighter jet that violated the Turkish airspace last November.
Erdogan sent Putin a letter Monday calling for the restoration of “traditional friendly ties”. Kalin said an “important step” had been taken to normalize relations and the countries had “opened a new page in which problems regarding bilateral ties and regional issues such as Syria, Ukraine and Crimea will be handled through dialogue and negotiation.”
Erdogan’s “very humane approach” in expressing condolences to the family of the Russian airman killed had been embraced by Russia, Kalin said, and the normalization process would proceed on this basis.
He extended the possibility of Turkey paying compensation to the flyer’s family but said such a request had not yet been made.