Normalization not possible after Gaza offensive, senior Turkish diplomat tells Israeli counterpart
Sevil Erkuş ANKARA
Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu (R) stands next to Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (2R) during a press statement. AA PhotoTurkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu has conveyed to his Israeli counterpart that diplomatic normalization between the two countries is not possible due to the ongoing Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, a Turkish official has told the Hürriyet Daily News.
Sinirlioğlu is set to hold talks in Washington where he will also brief U.S. officials about Turkey’s position on the issue of stalled rapprochement between Israel and Turkey. The July 21-23 visit is his second trip to Washington since early June and comes after the deadly Israeli raids in Gaza.
In a written statement on July 20, the Foreign Ministry said Sinirlioğlu would pay a working visit to the U.S. to discuss current bilateral, regional and global issues. “As part of the visit, the delegation is scheduled to meet with senior counterparts from various agencies, notably the United States Department of State and the National Security Council,” the statement said.
The normalization process aiming to end the four-year deadlock between the two countries, which began with the Israeli raid in May 2010 on the Mavi Marmara vessel, killing nine Turks who were trying to break the blockade of Gaza, has been pending for months due to “Israeli reluctance,” a Turkish official told the Daily News in May.
Intended ambassador appointed to another capital
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was reluctant to sign the agreement because he did not want to take a domestic political risk at a delicate time, according to diplomatic sources.
In remarks delivered on July 11, however, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tied normalization between Turkey and Israel to the “oppression of Palestinians.”
Turkey and Israel had been planning to mutually appoint ambassadors after signing the normalization agreement, but in June Ankara appointed the name intended to serve as its ambassador in Tel Aviv to another capital.