Thursday, July 21, 2011

Israel won't apologize for 'Marmara' incident

Minister says "Turkish stubbornness preventing us from bridging gaps"...

The "golden era" of Israeli-Turkish ties will not return, even if Israel did apologize for the Mavi Marmara incident, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Wednesday, reiterating that Israel has no intention of saying sorry to Ankara.

Ya'alon, who in recent weeks led three rounds of talks with the Turks in an effort to find a formula that would bring closure to last year's flotilla incident, indicated in an Israel Radio interview that Jerusalem felt no pressure to reach agreement with Turkey before former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer issues a report on the matter.

"Turkish stubbornness is preventing us from bridging the gaps, and therefore it is good that Palmer will release his report on July 27, and then we will meet," Ya'alon said.

The UN commissioned report is widely believed to uphold the legality of Israel's naval blockade of Gaza, as well as the right of Israel to stop the flotilla, while taking the IDF to task for using excessive force in stopping the Mavi Marmara. The report is also believed to highlight Turkish government links with the flotilla, which resulted in the death of nine Turks when IDF commandoes were attacked while boarding the ship.
...Ya'alon said that while Israel agreed to express regret for the loss of lives, it would not apologize. There is a huge difference, he said, because an apology means taking responsibility for the action.

The Mavi Marmara was a Turkish provocation, Ya'alon said, pointing out that by stopping Turkish participation in this year's flotilla, Ankara showed that it could have stopped last year's as well, had it been so inclined. "The Turkish government also bears responsibility," he said.
"I am also not sure that the Turks are willing to renew the golden era of ties," Ya'alon said. "The deterioration [in the relationship] happened even before the flotilla and has to do with the orientation of the [Turkish] government." ...
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