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Israel and Turkey reach deal to normalise ties: Report

Relations have been poor since Israel raided a Turkish ship headed for Gaza in 2010
Nine activists died on the Mavi Marmara in an Israeli raid in 2010 (AFP)

Israel and Turkey have reached "understandings" to normalise ties, at a low since Israel's deadly 2010 raid on a Turkish ship headed for Gaza, an Israeli official told the AFP news agency on Thursday.

The deal drafted at a secret meeting in Switzerland calls for Israeli compensation to victims of the raid, a return of envoys and the start of talks on gas exports to Turkey, once the pact has been signed, the unnamed official said.

Israeli commandos attacked the Mavi Marmara in 2010 as it was sailing towards Gaza as part of a peace flotilla, resulting in the deaths of nine activists. Dozens more were injured in the raid.

Under the deal, all Turkish lawsuits against Israel will be cancelled, and Turkey will prevent senior Hamas operative Salah Aruri from entering its territory and acting from there, the source said.

Israel has long accused Turkey of letting Aruri plan deadly attacks from its territory.

According to the official, incoming Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and Joseph Ciechanover, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's point-man for Turkish reconciliation, made up Israeli team, with Turkish foreign ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu representing Ankara.

A separate official could not say when the pact might be signed, but Channel 10 television said it was expected "in coming days".

Turkey had no immediate comment on the Israeli announcement, but acknowledged in June that the sides were holding talks aimed at reconciliation.

On Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, known for his angry outbursts at Israel, spoke in favour of normalising ties with Israel, which could benefit the Palestinians as well.

"We, Israel, the Palestinians and the region have a lot to win from a normalisation process," he said. "The interests of all the peoples of the region need to be considered."

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