Erdogan: Normal ties if Israel fulfills promises

A condition of the rapproachment is the easing of Gaza blokade; Israeli security official says Israel did not commit to end blockade.

March 24, 2013 17:52
2 minute read.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)


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Speaking at a meeting with supporters, Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said Sunday that normalization of relations with Israel will take place only if Israel fulfills all its agreed promises of the rapproachment between the two nations, Israel Radio reported. 

After Friday's US-brokered fence-mending announcement,  the Turkish Prime Minister said Israel had met his demands that it apologize for killing nine Turks aboard a Gaza-bound activist ship in 2010, pay compensation and ease the blockade.

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With regard to easing of the blockade, one senior Israeli official said on Thursday that Israel did not commit to ending its Gaza blockade as part of reconciliation with Turkey and could clamp down even harder on the Palestinian enclave if security is threatened.

The rapprochement deal noted Israel's relaxing of curbs on Gaza's civilian imports in that period and pledged "to continue to work to improve" Palestinians' humanitarian situation.

"If there is quiet, the processes easing the lives of Gazan residents will continue. And if there is Katyusha (rocket) fire, then these moves will be slowed and even stopped and, if necessary, even reversed," National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror said.

Other reactions to the diplomatic breakthrough were also heard in Israel. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz expressed on Sunday support for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's decision to reach a detente with Turkey through an apology over the result of the naval raid on the Turkish flotilla.

"The cutting of relations have many consequences, and the prime minister acted correctly," Gantz said. At the same time, the chief of staff stressed that fully supported the actions of naval commandos who participated in the raid on violent IHH activists on board the Mavi Marvara ship in 2010.


He described the raid as "professional, determined, and ethical. Any other army would have completed this with dozens of dead. The commandos carried out a good operation," Gantz added.

He expressed confidence that the commandos understood the factors that led the prime minister to reach out to Turkey.

President Shimon Peres similarly praised the naval commandos. Peres also expressed his support for the apology to Turkey and referring to the state of foreign policy between the two states in the past few years said, "A grudge is not a policy." 

Reuters contributed to this report.

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