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Diplomacy & Politics
JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS \
'Turkey-Israel talks to be held at end of July in NY'
Tayyip Erdogan 311.
(photo credit:REUTERS/Murad Sezer)
After failing to repair tarnished ties between the two countries, Turkey and
Israel will hold another round of negotiations later this month in New York, a
Turkish official told Hurriyet newspaper.Ozdem Sanberk, the Turkish
member of the UN panel investigating the IDF raid on the Mavi Marmara ship, told
the the Turkish newspaper that talks are expected to be concluded in late
July.Sanberk told the paper that the schedule of the next round of
negotiations has been set yet. “There has been no change in the negotiating
team,” he added.On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said it
was “unthinkable” to normalize ties with Israel unless the Jewish state
apologized for the killing of nine pro-Palestinian Turkish activists aboard the
Mavi Marmara bound for Gaza last year.Erdogan also said in the text of a
speech to parliament seen by Reuters that lifting an Israeli blockade on Gaza
and paying compensation to the victims of the raid were also conditions for the
normalization of relations.The Turkish prime minister made the comments
as Turkish and Israeli officials were meeting in New York to discuss repairing
the damaged ties between the two countries.On Thursday, senior Israeli
government officials said the UN’s Palmer Commission Report on the Mavi Marmara
incident will not be released until July 27, enabling Israel and Turkey to
continue looking for a formula on the matter that will enable reestablishment of
normal relations.According to the officials, Israeli and Turkish
officials were informed by the UN on Thursday that even though the report has
been completed, it will not be published for another three weeks.The
report – which is widely believed to uphold the legality of Israel’s naval
blockade of the Gaza Strip, but takes the IDF to task for excessive force – was
to have been released on Thursday.According to officials, the US was
involved in delaying the publication of the report so that negotiations between
the two sides could continue.The report was originally scheduled to have
been released on May 15, but was postponed at the request of the Turks,
apparently concerned about the impact the report – which reportedly holds Turkey
responsible to a large degree for the events – would have on the Turkish public
before the June 12 elections there.Both sides wrote an appendix to the
original report, responding to specific points in it.The commission is
headed by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer, and co-chaired by
former Colombian president Alvar Uribe.Israel is represented on the
panel by Joseph Ciechanover, and the Turks by Ozden Sanberk.Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has directed Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe
Ya’alon to continue contacts with the Turks. Ya’alon met earlier this week in
New York with Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu to
hammer out a formula, but the two sides failed to reach an
agreement.While the Turks are demanding an Israeli apology and
compensation to the families of the nine people killed in the incident, Israel
has said that while it was willing to pay compensation – as long as it was done
in a way that would not enable future legal claims – it would not
apologize.Rather, Jerusalem has said it would be willing to express
regret for the loss of life.Herb Keinon contributed to this report.
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