Israeli, Turkish negotiators to meet in Switzerland

Israeli and Turkish negotiating teams were set to meet in Switzerland on Wednesday for another round of talks as the two countries continue to try to finalize a reconciliation agreement.

The once close relationship between Israel and Turkey soured after the May 2010 Gaza flotilla incident, in which eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American were killed when Israeli naval commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara vessel, which was seeking to breach Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. A 10th Turkish citizen died later of his injuries.

Under a U.S.-brokered arrangement in 2013, Israel apologized to Turkey for the deaths and agreed to compensate the victims’ families. But subsequent efforts to restore ties stalled.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the matter with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during their meeting in Davos, Switzerland, last month.

Meanwhile, a Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations delegation, led by Stephen Greenberg and Malcolm Hoenlein, met in Ankara on Tuesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

An Israeli diplomatic official said the delegation did not deliver any messages from Netanyahu to Turkish leaders.