Ayalon calls for apology to Turks over flotilla deaths

Deputy FM says Israel should use text of US apology to Pakistan over airstrikes which killed soldiers as blueprint.

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, JPOST CORRESPONDENT
January 18, 2013 04:29
1 minute read.
Danny Ayalon

Danny Ayalon 370. (photo credit: Screenshot)

WASHINGTON – Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon is advocating that Israel use the “Pakistan model” to provide an apology to Turkey in order to mend the rift between the two countries.

Turkey severely downgraded ties with Israel following the 2010 flotilla incident in which Turkish citizens on a ship trying to break the Gaza blockade were killed by the IDF. Turkey has demanded an apology as well as other measures to restore relations.

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The relationship between the United States and Pakistan, became seriously strained after US airstrikes in 2011 killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers. After months of back-and-forth, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a carefully worded message to her counterpart in which she said she was sorry for the loss of Pakistani life.

“This text should be and could be the blueprint for our text,” Ayalon said during a visit to Capitol Hill earlier this week.

Ayalon, who raised Turkish ire a few months ahead of the flotilla incident by publicly snubbing Turkey’s ambassador to Israel, said he believes the relationship can be fixed.

“We can really resolve the flotilla issue,” Ayalon said, noting that he already he sees “some improvement” in the interaction between two countries that were once close allies.

Ayalon pointed out that “back-channels” have been established to try to work out the situation. He declined to provide any details regarding who was participating in these backchannels or how they were proceeding.

At least twice in the past few months there have been reports that Israeli and Turkish officials have met to discuss issues pertaining to their ruptured relationship.

And in December, it was first reported in The Jerusalem Post that the Turkish government had removed its objection to Israel participating as a partner nation in certain NATO activities that it had blocked in the past.

Ayalon emphasized that Israel and Turkey share many interests, for when it comes to managing the Syrian crisis.

“We need to put it back on track,” he said of the relationship between the two countries.


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