A month and a half after Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin invited him to Israel, Turkey's parliament speaker Cemil Çiçek officially turned down the invitation to visit the Jewish state, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported Wednesday.
The November 29, 2011 letter from Rivlin asked Çiçek to come to Israel to improve bilateral ties between the two countries.
“The invitation will be considered when the bilateral relations become more favorable," Çiçek responded. “I am sure you know our expectations to enable our relations [to be] normalized.”
Israeli-Turkish ties have been strained since an Israeli army raid on the "Mavi Marmara" ship, part of an aid flotilla to Gaza, resulted in the deaths of several Turkish nationals on board.