Exclusive: Erdan - The Turks are trying to humiliate us

Despite deteriorating relations with Turkey, Likud minister says boycotting Ankara would be an unwise move.

Erdan 311 (photo credit: Steve Linde)
Erdan 311
(photo credit: Steve Linde)
Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said on Wednesday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “made the right decision” in not apologizing to Turkey for last summer’s flotilla incident, because “national honor is still important in the Middle East.”
“Of course it looks frightening now that [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan is threatening to move ships into the Mediterranean and do other things,” Erdan explained. “I think his reaction is mainly because of national honor.”
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“The government felt that Turkey is trying to bring Israel on its knees and humiliate us,” he added. “Israel is a state with great strength of deterrence. We were proven right, and if they can still humiliate us, it will damage us and reduce our power. We made the right decision.”
Erdan pointed out that the Palmer Commission report is probably “frustrating” for Turkey: “They pushed for an inquiry and got it, and then [the report] said that the blockade is legal according to international law.”
“Israel accepted the report and said we regret the loss of life,” he explained. “We will not pay compensation, because there is nothing to compensate for – the IDF acted in self-defense. However, we are willing to give money to the families of those who were killed in order to put this sad story behind us.”
Erdan expressed hope that Turkey will “respect international law” and accept the Palmer Commission’s report.
“We haven’t given up on our relationship with Turkey,” he said. “It can improve. Commercial ties between Turkey and Israel are important, as are the ties between our governments.”
“It doesn’t only depend on us, but we will try to do what we can,” Erdan said, adding: “Turkey now has other problems. They threatened to attack Cyprus because of natural gas reserves and they killed many Kurds in Iraq. We’re not alone.”
The Likud minister also spoke out against those calling for a tourist boycott of Turkey, which he said “will only make things worse.”
“Anyone can make a personal decision,” Erdan explained. “If they continue to humiliate tourists, then Israelis probably won’t go there.”
However, he explained that “as a policy or a weapon to achieve results from Turkey, a boycott is not wise. It will further deteriorate our relationship.”