Officials say PM Netanyahu reached out to his Turkish counterpart, Recep Erdogan, for a reconciliation with Turkey, but Erdogan responded, “there is nothing to talk about” until Israel apologizes for Mavi Marmara raid.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan refuses to speak with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, senior officials in Jerusalem revealed on Sunday, saying that Israel’s efforts at establishing a meaningful dialogue with the Turkish government had failed.
The officials said Netanyahu asked to speak with Erdogan and sought to set up a meeting between the two to resolve the ongoing crisis between their countries.
However, Turkey made it clear that as long as there was no formal apology from Israel — as demanded by Erdogan — over the deaths of nine Turkish nationals during the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship in May 2010, then “there is nothing to talk about.”
In September 2011, Turkey downgraded its diplomatic relations with Israel, expelling the Israeli ambassador and canceling all military agreements with Israel. The move came after a U.N. report into the incident backed Israel’s legal right to impose a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip, but said Israeli commandos used “excessive and unacceptable force” when they commandeered the Mavi Marmara.
The report slammed Turkey for not doing enough to ward off the deadly confrontation at sea. Turkey has rejected the report’s conclusions and is sticking to its demand that Israel apologize for the incident and compensate the victims’ families.
In June, Turkish prosecutors submitted to the High Criminal Court in Istanbul indictments for four former Israeli military leaders they claim were responsible for the incident, including former Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi. Prosecutors requested nine life sentences for each defendant.
Israel has officially refused to apologize for the incident, although government officials have said they are willing to discuss the matter to reach a mutually acceptable compromise.
Officials in Jerusalem on Sunday reiterated that Netanyahu wanted to talk about reconciliation and “a sort of apology,” but that a “public and official apology will be refused.”
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=5310