Israel’s energy minister to visit Turkey

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Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz is expected to visit Turkey on Oct. 13, the Israeli Embassy in Ankara said in a written statement on Oct. 10. The visit will be the the first ministerial level meeting since relations came to a halt in 2010 after Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. 

“Minister Steinitz will meet his Turkish counterpart Mr. Berat Albayrak in Istanbul in order to discuss energy cooperation between the two countries,” the statement read, adding that the two would meet on the sidelines of the 23rd World Energy Congress, during which Steinitz is scheduled to deliver the opening remarks for the Atlantic Council panel titled “A New Landscape in the Eastern Mediterranean.”

Albayrak and Steinitz are expected to hold a joint press conference after their meeting in Istanbul, the embassy said.

Israel and Turkey signed a deal in June to restore ties, which hit an all-time low after the 2010 raid by Israeli commandos on a Gaza-bound aid ship that killed 10 Turks.

Israel paid Turkey $20 million in compensation for the deadly raid, an amount that Turkish authorities say has been transferred to the account of the Justice Ministry, due to be passed onto families of the victims who lodged cases at Turkish courts.

Israel also made a formal apology for the raid and agreed to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
The blockade remains in place but Israel has allowed Turkish aid to reach Gaza through Israeli ports under the deal.

Turkey and Israel are now set to restore full diplomatic relations, including the exchange of ambassadors who were pulled out of the respective capitals after the crisis.

Steinitz’s visit marks the first visit at ministerial level between the two countries in the past six years.

“It is the result of the rapprochement agreed upon by the two countries. The visit is the expression of the great potential that exists in bilateral political and economic relations,” the Israeli Embassy statement read.

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