Erdogan unrepentant over 2010 flotilla in first Israeli TV interview in 13 years

The interview is said to combative at times, especially when Erdoğan is questioned by Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan about the Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla.

November 21, 2016 11:46
2 minute read.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during an iftar event in Ankara, Turkey, June 27, 2016. (photo credit: REUTERS)

For the first time in 13 years, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sat down for an interview with an Israeli TV station and called for opening a new chapter in relations between the two countries.

A preview of the full interview to be aired Monday night on Channel 2 provided excerpts of Erogan's remarks regarding the reconciliation of diplomatic ties between Israel and Turkey six years after they soured following the 2010 Mavi Marmara crisis.

The interview is said to be combative at times, especially when Erdoğan is questioned by Israeli journalist Ilana Dayan about the Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla vessel that was raided by Israeli Naval commandos.

In the 2010 incident, a group of human rights activists and a smaller group of IHH activists (which the quasi-government Turkel Commission Report identified as affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood) boarded several ships to try to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

While Israel commandeered and stopped most of the ships without incident, the Israel Navy commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara. IHH activists then attacked them, leading to some commandos being wounded and, eventually, 10 deaths on the IHH side.
The Mavi Marmara Incident

While the Israeli marines said they had acted in self defense, Turkey and many others in the international community accused Israel of war crimes and prolonged legal battles ensued.

Erdoğan said that the claims made by Israeli commandos about violence by those aboard the ship were "all lies."

"They cannot be believed," Erdoğan said, "we have all the documents to prove it."

Erdoğan added that "I have seen everything," attacking Dayan "you cannot speak the truth, the fact that you are a journalist does not mean you have to lie, if you think you can pressure Recep Tayyip Erdoğan into a corner you are mistaken."

The interview is set to be aired after MK Mickey Levy (Yesh Atid) on Sunday invited Erdoğan to Israel following the latter's speech at the annual NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Istanbul.

Representing the Knesset, Levy along with MK Omer Barlev (Zionist Union) exchanged greetings with the Turkish delegation and spoke of the future of cooperation between Jerusalem and Ankara.

Turkey and Israel last week named their respective ambassadors whom they will exchange in a move signifying the full restoration of diplomatic ties, which were reconciled this summer after the six-year rupture.

Yonah Jeremery Bob contributed to this report.

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