(photo credit: Associated Press)
Diplomatic sources confirmed on Tuesday that Israeli and Turkish officials met a second time in Geneva, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported.
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Turkish diplomats told Hurriyet that Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and Israel's representative to the UN probe of the Gaza flotilla incident, Yosef Ciechanover, have discussed mending diplomatic ties for the past two days.
"If someone extends us a friendly hand for a solution to problems, we do not leave that hand in the air," a Turkish diplomatic source reportedly said.
The Turkish diplomats did not comment on the contents of the talks, but told Hurriyet
that "'fire diplomacy' has encouraged the diplomatic contact" and served to "help break the ice."
Another source reportedly said Turkey is optimistic about the talks, because they
are a personal initiative of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Asked at a Jerusalem press conference about what was happening with the
ties, Netanyahu said he would not talk about it at this time.
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.Herb Keinon contributed to this report.