The 'Mavi Marmara' 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters/Emrah Dalkaya)
The Foreign Ministry has yet to decide whether it will send a new ambassador to
Ankara when current Ambassador Gabi Levi’s term ends at the end of the year or
to leave only a lower-ranking diplomat in his place, Israel Radio reported on
Senior officials in the Foreign Ministry said they are waiting
until talks over the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident conclude to decide on the next
move. In recent months, Israel and Turkey have been attempting to find mutually
agreeable language and terms to settle the affair.
Lieberman: Apology to Turkey will broadcast weakness
Top ministers air differing opinions on Turkey apology
Turkey wants Israel to
apologize for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals aboard the Mavi Marmara
flotilla ship that attempted to breach Israel’s naval blockade on the Gaza
Strip, while Israel has publicly said it is only willing to express regret over
Additionally, according to the Israel Radio report, officials
in Jerusalem are waiting to see if Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
follows through on statements indicating he may visit Gaza, saying that if he
does so, the Turkish prime minister would find himself tied to Hamas.
Thursday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that an Israeli apology to
Ankara would not change the soured relations between the two countries, and
Erdogan has no intention of improving ties.
Lieberman’s comments in an
Israel Radio interview came amid reports that the US had softened Lieberman’s
position on an apology to Turkey and that he would not bolt the coalition if
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided to apologize for “operational”
mistakes that took place while intercepting the Mavi Marmara
the Foreign Ministry denied this report, saying Lieberman had made it clear
weeks ago that he would not leave the government over this issue.
interview Thursday, Lieberman pointed out that Erdogan was not only calling for
an apology, but also for a lifting of the naval blockade of Gaza. He also said
the Turkish leader was pressuring countries in the region to support the
Palestinian statehood bid at the UN in September.
Lieberman said an
apology would be interpreted regionally as weakness, “and they don’t like
weakness here. It is forbidden to be weak, and an apology is first and foremost
a message of weakness.”
The foreign minister dismissed the notion that an
apology and paying compensation to the families of the nine Turks killed in the
incident would fend off future legal action against IDF soldiers, saying there
are dozens of such actions pending around the world.