Erdogan flag 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
While Turkey’s decision to send two planes to assist in fighting the Mount
Carmel fire has provided an opening for an improvement in Israeli-Turkish ties,
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would not give a status report Monday night on
the current nature of the relationship.
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Asked at a Jerusalem press
conference about what was happening with the ties – amid reports that Israeli
and Turkish officials were meeting in Geneva to come up with a formula that
would put the Mavi Marmara incident in the past and lead to a return of Turkey’s
envoy to Israel – Netanyahu said he would not talk about it at this
The prime minister also ignored a question about whether he would
apologize – as the Turks are demanding – for the flotilla incident in which nine
Turks were killed trying to break Israel’s sea blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Turkey is also demanding compensation payments for those injured in the
incident, as well as to the families of the dead.
“Let’s say we are very
appreciative of the fact that the Turkish government sent two planes at a time
when we needed them,” Netanyahu said. “We greatly appreciate that. I think that
is very important, and I expressed that appreciation, as well as my hope that
this will enable us to move forward in an improvement of ties. Beyond that, I
have nothing to say.”
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has
said since Ankara sent the planes that he still demands an apology from Israel
for the flotilla incident.
Netanyahu, before the Carmel fire, said in
private conversations that it was the Turks who should apologize for the
Amid reports that some kind of formula was being worked out, it
was noted in Jerusalem Monday that the Turkel Commission investigating the
incident still needed to issue its report. That would then be passed on to the
United Nations, which is working on a report of its own.
It is unlikely
that any closure of the incident will come before the commission’s results are
published, and there is also some expectation that in the final analysis, both
sides would agree to a statement that the UN committee – made up of both an
Israeli and a Turkish representative – would produce.
the Israeli representative on the UN panel, was reportedly sent by Netanyahu to
meet a senior Turkish diplomat, Feridun Sinirlioglu, in Geneva on Sunday in an
effort to defuse the tensions.
Israeli officials were not commenting on
that meeting on Monday.