Trouble in talks with Israel ‘not linked’ to Gezi protests, Turkish official says
Israeli PM Netanyahu has apologized for the deadly raid in 2010. REUTERS photoA Turkish official has dismissed media reports claiming that the government’s accusations directed at the Jewish diaspora about the Gezi protests have stalled Mavi Marmara compensation talks with Israel.
The talks were already suffering difficulties before the protests began in late May due to some details of negotiations that need to be cleared up, the official said, while ruling out any suspension of the compensation talks.
Some media reports have claimed that the Turkish government’s crackdown on the Gezi protests and the “Jewish lobby” remarks of Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay had frozen the reconciliation process.
Atalay subsequently denied media reports that he blamed the Jewish diaspora for the Gezi unrest. “There are some circles that are jealous of Turkey’s growth. They are all uniting, on one side, there is the Jewish diaspora,” Cihan News Agency quoted him in a video as saying on July 1 in the Central Anatolian province of Kırıkkale.
Turkey and Israel came “close” to reaching a deal on compensation for victims of a deadly Israeli raid in 2010 on a Gaza-bound flotilla in May but they have not been able to reach to a file result.
Israel and Turkey are working to mend ties that were ruptured after the raid by Israeli commandos, who stormed an aid ship that was trying to break the embargo with a ship bound for the Gaza Strip, ultimately killing eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish-American. Israel maintains a blockade on Gaza.
Turkey withdrew its ambassador to Israel right after the attack, but in September 2011, it downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel to the lowest level of second secretary and put on hold all military contracts and ties with the state.