Turkey nixes Israel’s ‘US-like regret’ offer

Turkey nixes Israel’s ‘US-like regret’ offer

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey nixes Israel’s ‘US-like regret’ offer

‘If Turks accept the American version then I’ll go for it,’ says FM Lieberman. AFP photo

Turkey has said it will not accept anything less than an official apology before it mends ties with Israel, dismissing Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s suggestion of issuing a text similar to what America released in their row with Pakistan, which contained words of regret and sorry.

“Israelis know what our demands are. These include an official apology and compensation. We will accept nothing less than this,” a diplomatic source told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday. “Israel’s attack on a civilian boat in international waters, which killed nine civilians, and the American’s killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers are not comparable. Accepting an American version of an apology is out of the question,” the source told the Daily News.

The Israeli press reported Lieberman as having said Israel could go ahead and issue a text similar to that of the Americans and express its regret over the loss of Turkish citizens as a result of an Israeli commandos attack on the Mavi Marmara vessel in 2010. “The only possibility is an American version. Not one word more,” Lieberman was quoted as saying. “If Turks accept the American version then I’ll go for it.” Lieberman spoke in Hebrew and different translations of his speech have been reported in various English-language media outlets.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement July 3 after she spoke with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani by telephone about American troops’ mistakenly killing 24 Pakistani soldiers, an event which further strained relations between the two countries. “I once again reiterated our deepest regrets for the tragic incident in Slala last November,” her statement read. “We are sorry for the losses suffered by the Pakistani military.”

It was Liebermann who first compared the two issues last November while defending his government’s strict position on not apologizing to Turkey given the fact that Washington did not intend to apologize to Pakistan. But Clinton’s statement put Liebermann in a difficult situation and pushed him to make this suggestion to Turkey. Turkish diplomats did not deny efforts by third parties to formulate a way to normalize ties, but said there was no need for mediation by outside parties as there were already functioning channels between Ankara and Tel Aviv. Dismissing claims that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief David Petraeus’ trip to Turkey and Israel was a mediation effort, a source said the ball was still in Israel’s court.