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17 April 2014, Thursday
 
 
Today's Zaman
 
 
 
 

Israeli minister: No Mavi Marmara apology on horizon

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THIS FILE PHOTO SHOWS UZI LANDAU, THE ISRAELI MINISTER OF ENERGY AND WATER RESOURCES. (PHOTO: TODAY'S ZAMAN)
27 November 2012, Tuesday /AYDIN ALBAYRAK
Israel finds an apology to Turkey unnecessary for the killing of nine humanitarian workers onboard the Mavi Marmara by Israeli troops in 2010, while it was carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza in an effort to break the Israeli blockade.

“We don't think we have to apologize for an action which an international committee appointed by the UN described as self-defense,” Uzi Landau, the Israeli minister of Energy and Water Resources, has said.

Stories have recently appeared in both the Turkish and Israeli press that say the two countries had secretly restarted negotiations before Israel's attack on Gaza on Nov. 14 in order to put an end to strained bilateral relations. But with the statement by Landau and those of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, describing Israel as a “terrorist state” for its recent Gaza attack, chances for reconciliation are looking dimmer.

“Whatever is being written about what's happening behind the scenes [between Turkey and Israel] is, I suppose, overshadowed by Mr. Erdoğan's comments,” Landau told a group of journalists at the 5th Eilat-Eilot Renewable Energy Conference in Israel on Monday.

Though noting that Israel seeks improvement in its diplomatic relations with Turkey, downgraded to the level of second secretary following the Mavi Marmara incident, Landau added, “This [the effort toward reconciliation] must not have ramifications only behind the scenes.”

Eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American were killed when the Israeli navy attacked an international humanitarian aid flotilla, of which the Mavi Marmara was a part, which was attempting to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza in May 2010. Following the attack, Turkey described the raid as a violation of international law “tantamount to banditry and piracy” and called the killings of activists “state-sponsored terrorism.”

Ankara wants an official apology from Israel for the raid as well as compensation for relatives of the Mavi Marmara victims and continues to call for the Gaza blockade to be lifted. None of the demands have so far been accepted by the Israeli government, although Israel and Turkey came close to reconciliation in the summer of 2011. Immediately following the attack on the Mavi Marmara, Turkey withdrew its ambassador to Israel, suspended joint military exercises and prevented Israeli military aircraft from using Turkish airspace. In an additional step, Turkey put military pacts with its former ally on hold in September of last year.

Noting moves by Israel to mend ties with Turkey, Minister Landau said efforts from the Israelis toward reconciliation were not reciprocated by the Turkish side. Israeli officials seem rather perturbed by Erdoğan's comments, which follow the deaths of nearly 200 Palestinians in an Israeli barrage on Gaza. According to international media, most of those killed were civilians, though Landau maintains that two-thirds were operatives of Hamas.

“Unfortunately, in such an activity, you have collateral damage,” he said, and accused Hamas, which Israel sees as a terrorist organization, of using densely populated areas to launch rockets toward Israel from in Gaza. And Erdoğan is in no position to describe Israel as a terrorist state, added the minister. “Mr. Edoğan, who was awarded a special medal by [the former Libyan leader Muammar] Gaddafi, really can't describe Israel as a terrorist state,” he remarked.

Though expressing regret for Palestinian civilians killed in Israel's operation, the minister defended the country's position in the attack. “We are trying to target just those who are shooting at us. I suppose that no other country has taken measures as surgical and precise as Israeli military forces did in the Gazan operation,” said Landau.

The minister said Israel's performance was even better than that of NATO forces fighting in Afghanistan, where the ratio of civilians killed to militants is six to one, he noted.

 
 
COMMENTS
There will be no apology to those who openly support terrorist Hamas while pretending to be humanitarians. Unfortunately and for obsure to sanity reasons, Turks are not able to comprehend the latter and so the story goes on and on and on... Regards
Thessalonian
As long as Israel does not change its behavior it will be isolated by the region. So cause and effect relationship. It is time that Turkey breaks all ties with Israel.
realist
Apologies? And then Erdogan stop openly supporting Israeli enemies? Only undercover?
Beer
Israel will never apologise as they consider all non Jews as untermench and as such think killing then is no big deal.
Tana
Israel needs Turkey more so with what's going on in the region, so Turkey will get an apology..
reality
apology or not, here is Israel, we really do not understand why the hell of all the countries in the world, it is turkey that decided to act this way. not only because of the good relations until then, but due to the fact that this move is against the PA, which represents the Palestinians that chose...
musa
Has it ever occurred to anyone that someone was mediating between Turkey and Israel? BN says he had the impression the flotilla would not sale. Only one of two people would have left him with that impression: RTE, who would surely deny it, and a mediator. But RTE has not denied it as far as I ha...
Morse Fan
The hoopla surrounding possible normalization of Israeli-Turkish relations had been very silly for some time. No outsider thinks either side was solely at fault in the Mavi Marmara disaster; you don't have to know much to know that at minimum both countries made mistakes and perhaps did inappropria...
Morse Fan
Turkey was the one who insisted on a UN probe into this incident. The probe was headed by J Palmer ex PM of Newzealand who is a renowned expert on The International Law of the Sea. His probe has established amongst the rest two points. First that the Gaza blockade ( Maritime exclusion zone ) is leg...
John McAuliffe
This man is lying.Sooner or later he will seek apology.If not publicly privately.But there is no escape at all.
Asif Reyaz
Israel has nothing to apologize for . May be Erdogan should apologize for calling Israel a "terrorist" state ,for insulting President Peres in Davos ,and sending the Navi Marmara to provoke Israel .
stone
Israel probabal appology is here by rejected ..
Esfandyar
This statement clears up a lot. If it is Erdogans intention to remain the ad hoc spokesperson for the Hamas terror organization and thus insult Israel at every turn in public, Israel would just a soon leave things as they are. The wild hysteria voiced by Erdogan over Gaza since Devos makes it obvi...
rich
Turkey needs to apologize to Israel, not the other way around.
Yaacov
Mavi (Blue) Clouds in the Horizon, only saying. When Clouds in the horizon, God moves IN.
the meaning
''Israel finds an apology to Turkey unnecessary for Mavi Marmara case'' how Israel expects to have close relations with Turkey if he keeps humiliating Turkey?
Raffi
These cynical, callous remarks- a disgrace and defilement of Judaic principles of justice and humanity-by an odious minister of the fascist Israeli authorities, are part of their stick and carrot strategy to bully and inveigle, threaten and tempt Turkey to cave in and resume diplomatic relations, on...
Rudolphus
I dislike landau and the right-wing government of Netanyahu. But they are absolutely correct that the hateful and hostile statements of Mr. Erdogan prove that AKP's Turkey does not want any reconciliation with Israel. Ankara prefers to demonize Israel with all kinds of lies in order to secure the su...
Israeli
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