Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu rejected claims that Turkey's decision to reconcile with Israel was precipitated by the crisis in Syria or tensions with Iran, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported on Friday, citing a Davutoglu interview with a local television station.
"There is no connection between Turkey’s demand for an apology and its actualization and Turkey’s policy to Iran and Syria; it is out of the question,” Davutoglu stated in the interview aired Thursday.
Davutoglu said rather, that Israel's apology came about as the result of "heavy pressure on Israel on every diplomatic field."
The Turkish foreign minister said that the subject of an Israeli apology was first broached when US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Turkey in early March.
“After Kerry’s visit we had contact over the telephone, SMS and emails,” Hurriyet quoted Davutoglu as saying.
He added that Kerry presented a finished proposal for the apology during US President Barack Obama's visit to Israel. The news of the apology was announced by the White house shortly after Obama left the Jewish state following a three-day visit.
Davutoglu stated that there were no direct conversations between Israel and Turkey in the lead-up to the apology, but that all negotiating was done through Washington.
“Obama’s presence during the phone conversation softened the atmosphere,” Davutoglu said.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said Friday that Ankara was expecting to receive an Israeli delegation in Turkey next week in order to discuss reparations for the families of those killed aboard the Mavi Marmara.
"No one should talk about figures at the moment. People should not have certain expectations about the amount of the reparations," the Andalou Agency quoted him as saying.
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