Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said it was "unthinkable" for Turkey to repair relations with Israel until it apologized for the raid on the Mavi Marmara
last year, AFP reported.
"As long as Israel does not apologize to Turkey, pay compensation to the families of the victims and lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip, a normalization of relations is unthinkable," he said during a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Istanbul. RELATED:Talk tough with TurkeyYa'alon: Turkey wants an apology, not reconciliation'Turkey-Israel talks to be held at end of July in NY'
The comments come after Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Thursday told foreign reporters that Israel is not ready to apologize to Turkey
. But he added that such a decision may be debated in Jerusalem, and that the doubt he has expressed in recent days was his own.
In response, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman expressed outrage
that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was considering delivering a limited apology, saying "This would be abandoning IDF soldiers. It’s diplomatically irresponsible. It’s diplomatic surrender. Israel is broadcasting weakness, embarrassment and an inability to stand up to pressure.”
Meanwhile, during his meeting with Erdogan in Istanbul, Abbas said Saturday that the Palestinian plan to obtain UN support for statehood in September was "forced" on them by Israel's refusal to stop settlement construction and end the "occupation," AFP reported.
"We are going to the United Nations because we are forced to, it is not a unilateral action," he told Palestinian diplomats from around the world meeting in Istanbul to garner support for the PA's statehood bid. "What is unilateral is Israeli settlement."
'We have not been able to return to negotiations with [Prime Minister
Binyamin] Netanyahu because of his refusal to negotiate on the basis of
the 1967 borders and to stop settlement," he was quoted as saying by
AFP. "Our first, second and third choice is to return to negotiations."
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.