(photo credit:Associated Press)
Turkish-Israeli discussions to end the diplomatic crisis between the countries
continue, but talk that Israel proposed payment of $100,000 to the families of
each of the nine Turks killed on the Mavi Marmara was speculation, Turkey’s
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Thursday.
According to a report
on the Istanbul- based Hurriyet daily’s website, Davutoglu’s comments came
during a press conference in Ankara with his Syrian counterpart.
to Turkey: No malicious intent in 'Marmara' raid
showed great restraint on 'Marmara'
Jerusalem, meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, when asked whether
Israel should apologize or pay compensation to the Turks, answered “no,” but
declined to elaborate because the talks with the Turks were
Ayalon himself was forced to apologize to Ankara earlier this
year after seating Turkey’s ambassador on a lower chair when he called him in to
protest anti-Semitic shows on Turkish television.
Avigdor Lieberman has also come out against any gestures toward Ankara, with
sources close to him saying that the Turks should apologize to
This opinion is not merely held by the political echelon inside
the Foreign Ministry, but also by a number of diplomats in senior positions who
say that Israel has nothing to apologize about, and that it was Turkey, not
Israel, that sent the ship with activists from a terrorist-supporting
organization to infringe upon another country’s sovereignty.
said the Turks don’t seem interested in reaching a compromise, since they are
insisting that Israel issue a full-throated apology, and not suffice with a
statement expressing “regret” for the incident.
Another official said
there was no guarantee that an apology would satisfy Turkish Prime Minister
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose verbal attacks on Israel began well before May 31’s
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday
criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for his reported willingness to pay
reparations to Turkish families, Army Radio reported.
“When we justly
said that no one would break the blockade of Gaza and no one would attempt to
bring ships into a place that could possibly endanger the security of Israel –
we prevented this and we felt very strongly about our decisions,” Olmert said.
“Today, we’re thinking about reparations and on how to apologize?” The Foreign
Ministry, meanwhile, denied reports that Ambassador to Turkey Gabby Levy had
asked to return home six months early.
According to these reports, Levy
asked to return early after a US cable released by WikiLeaks quoted him as
saying that Erdogan was a “fundamentalist” who “hates us
Levy’s tenure expires in the summer.
Ministry is not expected to name a replacement until it becomes clear where the
relations are going, concerned that Ankara may decide not to grant accreditation
to a new envoy.
Turkey pulled its ambassador from Israel after the
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