Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkish FM: Turkey-Israel relations still contingent on Israeli apology

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said that Turkish-Israeli relations will not return to normal until Israel apologizes to Turkey for the violent boarding of aid ship the Mavi Marmara in 2010.

Davutoğlu told reporters on Friday that Israel should apologize, pay compensation to families of the Turkish citizens killed during the boarding of the aid ship and end the embargo on Gaza. Otherwise, the minister stated, relations between Turkey and Israel will not be normalized.

Eight Turkish nationals and one American citizen of Turkish descent were killed in May 2010 when Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara, the lead vessel in a six-ship Gaza-bound aid flotilla. The raid subsequently drew widespread condemnation from the international community and sent Turkish-Israeli relations to a historic low. Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel, downsizing diplomatic relations to the level of second-secretary. Turkey also cancelled all standing military agreements.

“Israel should decide to be a part of either the problem or the solution,” Davutoğlu told reporters. The minister also spoke out against other aspects of Israeli policy, criticizing Israel to for continuing its settlement policy. The minister concluded by emphasizing that Turkey would react positively if Israel pursued a less hawkish foreign policy.

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