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ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News

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Sevil Erkuş Sevil Erkuş sevil.kucukkosum@hdn.com.tr

Ankara has dismissed Israeli officials’ recent statements that Tel Aviv is ready to solve any outstanding disputes with Turkey but will not apologize for the deadly 2010 Mavi Marmara raid, according to Turkish officials.

Turkey regards Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s latest remarks, as well as Israeli politicians’ similar statements delivered in the past, to be a tactical move attempting to avoid Turkey’s firm conditions for the normalization of bilateral ties.

Turkey’s opinion and pre-conditions are “certain,” the officials said, citing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statements that normalization in bilateral relations was not possible without Israel apologizing to Turkey.

“We have already discussed ways to normalize relations. They know our expectations,” another official said, adding that Ankara ruled out another round of talks with Israel if such conditions were not met by the Tel Aviv administration.

“There is no change in our attitude on the issue,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry official told the Hürriyet Daily News in reply to a question regarding Lieberman’s statements to a group of Turkish journalists.
“As Israel, we are ready to discuss [our problems with Turkey] at high-level or low-level open meetings,” Lieberman said July 22, adding that he had objected to apologizing during past talks, and even threatened to resign if Israel apologized for the Mavi Marmara incident. “Even if Israel apologizes for the attack, it will change nothing,” he also said.

Turkey and Israel fell out badly in 2010 when Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid ship to enforce a naval blockade of the Palestinian-run Gaza Strip and killed nine Turkish activists in clashes with activists. Turkish and Israel officials met several times to find a way out for a solution, in which Turkey has demanded a formal apology from Israel alongside compensation for victims and the families of the dead, but Israel has so far only ever expressed “regret.”

July/25/2012

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