turkish PM Erdogan 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Stringer)
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan turned down previous
attempts at reconciliation by Israel due to a failure by the Israeli
government to meet his pre-conditions, Turkish news outlet Hurriyet reported Tuesday.
Erdogan told Hurriyet that
one condition was the use of the word "apology." He said. "They wanted
to express sorrow, but we said no. We wanted the word apology,” Hurriyet quoted him as saying.
Israeli officials reportedly agreed to financially compensate Mavi Marmara
victims’ families in light of the 2010 flotilla incident, but Erdogan
insisted that a reconciliation would also require an apology and an end
to the Gaza embargo, according to Hurriyet
Erdogan also told Hurriyet
that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised to start work on easing the embargo on Gaza.
“We will monitor the situation to see if the promises are kept or not,” Hurriyet
quoted him as saying.
Meanwhile, Erdogan said on Tuesday that he is
planning to visit Gaza and the West Bank to see if Israel is holding up
its end of the deal to lift the Gaza blockade, one of the conditions set
by Ankara to normalize ties with Jerusalem, Turkish paper Today's Zaman
who announced over the weekend plans to visit the Strip next month,
told ministers in a parliamentary meeting on Tuesday that he will travel
to the Palestinian territories with Turkish relief organizations in
order to work to improve the current humanitarian condition.
On Friday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke with Erdogan
for the first time since coming into power in 2009, and voiced regret for the loss of life in the Mavi Marmara
incident, apologizing for any operational mistakes that led to the
death of nine Turkish activists. Breaking a three-year deadlock, the two
agreed to normalize relations.
However, National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror said on Sunday
that Netanyahu’s apology did not obligate Israel to end the blockade of
Gaza, and it could clamp down harder on the Palestinian enclave if it
needed to because of security considerations.
conversation, Erdogan said Israel had met his demands to apologize for
killing nine Turks aboard the ship, pay compensation to those bereaved
or hurt and lift the blockade by allowing in more consumer goods.
fell well short, however, of an end to the blockade – which Erdogan had
routinely insisted on during the almost three-year-old rift as a
condition for rapprochement.
Erdogan, meanwhile, told a crowd of
supporters on Sunday that normalization of ties would only take place if
Israel implemented the conditions of the deal discussed in the
conversation with Netanyahu. The only firm condition mentioned in the
statement following that conversation was payment of compensation.
there is quiet, the processes easing the lives of Gazan residents will
continue. And if there is Katyusha fire, then these moves will be slowed
and even stopped and, if necessary, even reversed,” Amidror said on
“We did not agree to promise that under any condition
we would continue to transfer all the things into Gaza and ease up on
the residents of Gaza if there is shooting from there,” Amidror added.
“We do not intend to give up on our right to respond to what happens in
Gaza because of the agreement with the Turks.”
Monday signs were put up in Ankara to thank Erdogan for getting
Netanyahu to apologize for the Gaza flotilla incident. The billboards in
Turkish read: "Israel apologized to Turkey. Dear Prime Minister, We are
grateful that you let our country experience this pride."Herb Keinon contributed to this report.