Ankara to downgrade J'lem ties

Ayalon says Turkey "doesn't have good intentions."

June 17, 2010 12:37
2 minute read.
'Haphazard' cargo is inspected at the Ashdod port.

flotilla aid 311. (photo credit: Ron Friedman)


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Turkey is considering downgrading diplomatic relations with Israel and reviewing economic and military cooperation unless Jerusalem takes steps to make amends for the deadly raid on Gaza-bound aid ships, a Turkish official said on Thursday.

The official said that Turkey wants Israel to apologize for the raid, return the seized ships, agree to an international investigation and offer compensation for the victims. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government rules.

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Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said, in an interview with Israel Radio, that Israel has no intention of agreeing to Turkey's demands.

"Whoever has demands like these, doesn't have good intentions," Ayalon said.

Ayalon added that the deterioration in Israel-Turkey relations is not a result of an Israeli initiative, and that the two countries should use diplomatic means to normalize relations.

Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman reported on Thursday that the Turkish government expressed satisfaction with the Israeli decision to transfer the aid from the flotilla ship, Mavi Marmara, to the UN for distribution in Gaza.

The paper quoted a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement saying "the fact that the humanitarian aid material on ships taking part in the Gaza aid convoy will be distributed to Gaza by the UN with consent of all parties is considered a positive development in regards to allowing the aids project to achieve its goal."

In a separate development the Turkish news agency Anadolu announced that a monument is to be erected in a suburb of Istanbul in memory of the people killed in the raid.

The Mavi Marmara is the ship on which nine activists were killed in the IDF commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

In protest of the Israeli blockade, Hamas refused to allow the aid from the flotilla into Gaza.

An agreement was reached on Tuesday whereby Israel would hand the aid to the UN, and the UN would take responsibility for delivering the aid to Gaza, while ensuring that it was used in used in authorized humanitarian projects.

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