Israel's military intervention on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 took Turkey by surprise, Oğuz Çelikkol, Turkey's ambassador to Israel at the time, told Hurriyet Daily News on Monday.
“We knew the crisis was coming but we did not foresee that it would result like that,” the Hurriyet quoted him as saying. “Obviously, we were not expecting Israel to let the humanitarian aid reach Gaza, but we thought the intervention method would be different.”
Çelikkol added that he questions whether Israel had faulty intelligence concerning the flotilla, prompting what he said was an overly aggressive response.
"To resort to such a violent intervention, with commandos descending on the ship, this is what makes us suspect that perhaps they had some wrong information about the ship," he said.
Nine people died during an IDF raid of a Turkish ship carrying pro-Palestinian supporters seeking to break Israel's naval blockade on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. A tenth victim, who was left in a coma following the incident, recently passed away.
While he says that diplomatic relations will not improve without a solution to the "Palestinian problem", there is no reason there should not be a normalization of relations between the two countries, Çelikkol said.
"But normalization of relations does not mean that Turkey will give up its support for the Palestinians," he added.
The former Turkish envoy also cited Israel's operation in Gaza in 2009 as the turning point in Turkish-Israeli ties. From then on, he told the Hurriyet, there was a marked increase in critical statements from Turkish officials against Israel.