Israel needs to take step, Turkey says

Israel needs to take step, Turkey says

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Israel needs to take step, Turkey says

It is well-known why Israeli ties have come to this point, says Ünal.

Turkey has reiterated its preconditions for any resumption of normal ties with Israel after the latter announced via the media that it was ready for talks.

“Israeli officials should take the steps expected [by Turkey] to normalize relations instead of giving messages through statements to press,” Selçuk Ünal, a spokesperson for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, told the Daily News yesterday following a call by Israeli Ambassador Pinhas Avivi, Israel Foreign Ministry’s political director for multilateral global and strategic affairs and former ambassador to Turkey, for dialogue on Syrian issue.

It is well-known why Turkish-Israeli relations have come to this point, Ünal said.

In exchange for restoring full ties with Israel, Turkey has repeatedly demanded that the country issue an apology and pay compensation for the deaths of nine Turkish activists killed by Israeli commandos in 2010 on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla to Gaza, as well as lift the blockade on Gaza.

“We should leave aside the problems Israel and Turkey and look to the future,” Avivi had been quoted as saying by a group of Turkish journalists earlier in the day in Jerusalem.

The officials of the two countries must launch a mechanism for cooperation on the Syrian crisis instead of delivering harsh messages to each other through the media, said Avivi. The official described the crisis between Israel and Turkey as “artificial.”

“Both countries have made mistakes. But, hereafter we should sit at the table without preconditions and strive to find solutions [in good faith],” Avivi said, adding that the parties would resolve their problems if Turkey kept the Gaza issue separate from bilateral relations.

Avivi indicated that Turkey’s conditions for an apology and compensation to restore ties could be met. Turkish and Israeli officials have met several times to discuss repairing ties, but have not been able to reach a solution.