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Turkey: Assad can be part of Syria transition – Nod to Israel deal

Binali Yildirim
Binali Yildirim

ISTANBUL: Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said yesterday his country is willing to accept a role for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad during a transitional period but insisted he has no place in Syria’s future. “Could Syria carry Assad in the long-term? Certainly not,” Yildirim said. “The United States knows and Russia knows that Assad does not appear to be someone who can bring (the people) together. There may be talks (with Assad) for the transition. A transition may be facilitated. But we believe that there should be no (Kurdish rebels), Daesh or Assad in Syria’s future,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.

Meanwhile, the Turkish parliament approved a deal to normalize ties with Israel after a delay caused by last month’s attempted coup, state-run media reported yesterday. Lawmakers ratified late Friday the agreement to restore relations between the two former close regional allies after a six-year rift, before parliament was due to go into summer recess. Under the deal, Israel will pay Turkey $20 million in compensation for a botched Israeli commando raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship in 2010 that left 10 Turks dead, state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Israel will hand Turkey a “lump sum” within 25 working days of the agreement coming into force, the agency said, which families of the victims will receive in due course. Under the terms of the deal, both sides agreed individual Israeli citizens or those acting on behalf of the Israeli government would not be held liable – either criminally or financially – for the raid, Anadolu said. The agreement also involves an easing of the naval blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip allowing Turkey to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians there via Israel’s Ashdod port. – Agencies (See Page 8)

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