yaalon office 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The “golden era” of Israeli- Turkish ties will not return – even if Israel
apologizes for the Mavi Marmara incident – Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe
Ya’alon said Wednesday, reiterating that Israel has no intention of acquiescing
Ya’alon, who in recent weeks led three rounds of talks with
the Turks in an effort to find a formula that would bring closure to last year’s
flotilla incident, indicated in an Israel Radio interview that Jerusalem felt no
pressure to reach an agreement with Turkey before former New Zealand prime
minister Geoffrey Palmer issues a report on the matter.
Ya'alon: Turkey wants an apology, not reconciliation
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FM: Turkey 'shut door' on reconciliation with Gaza stance
stubbornness is preventing us from bridging the gaps, and therefore it is good
that Palmer will release his report on July 27, and then we will meet,” Ya’alon
The UN-commissioned report is widely believed to uphold the
legality of Israel's naval blockade of Gaza, as well as the right of Israel to
stop the flotilla – while taking the IDF to task for using excessive force in
stopping the Mavi Marmara.
The report is also believed to highlight
Turkish government links with the flotilla, which resulted in the death of nine
Turks when IDF commandos were attacked while boarding the ship.
Turks are demanding an Israeli apology for the incident and compensation
payments to the family of the victims, as well as a lifting of the Gaza
Ya’alon said that while Israel agreed to express regret for the
loss of lives, it would not apologize.
There is a huge difference, he
said, because an apology means taking responsibility for the action.
Mavi Marmara was a Turkish provocation, Ya’alon added, pointing out that by
stopping Turkish participation in this year’s flotilla, Ankara showed that it
could have stopped last year’s as well, had it been so inclined.
Turkish government also bears responsibility,” he said.
“I am also not
sure that the Turks are willing to renew the golden era of ties,” Ya’alon
“The deterioration [in the relationship] happened even before the
flotilla, and has to do with the orientation of the [Turkish]
In Turkey, meanwhile, the website of the daily Hurriyet
reported that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan would go ahead with a
longdiscussed trip to Gaza if Israel did not issue an apology.
cited diplomatic sources as saying Erdogan originally planned to cross into Gaza
from Rafah during his trip to Egypt on Thursday, but decided to postpone the
Gaza leg of his journey because of “the possibility of an apology from
According to Hurriyet
, if this does not happen before the Palmer
report is released, Erdogan is considering going to Gaza during Ramadan, which
begins August 1.
The paper said Turkey has made clear it would take
further steps that would cause a deeper deterioration of ties if an Israeli
apology was not forthcoming.
reported that the news of a
possible Erdogan visit to Gaza has “caused fury on the Israeli side,” officials
both in the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Ministers Office said it was hardly a
topic of conversation.
“If he wants to go to Gaza, let him go,” one
official said, who requested anonymity, adding that a trip there through Rafah
does not need to be coordinated with Israel, and that a number of international
diplomats and leaders – including EU Foreign- Policy Chief Catherine Ashton –
have already made the trip.