Turkish FM reveals secret diplomacy behind Israel’s apology

Turkish FM reveals secret diplomacy behind Israel’s apology

Turkish FM reveals secret diplomacy behind Israel’s apology

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. DHA Photo

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu revealed March 28 the background of Israel’s apology to Turkey over the Mavi Marmara killings of 2010.

“On every diplomatic field, there was heavy pressure on Israel. In some international organizations and other issues there was an ‘area restriction,’ Davutoğlu said in a television program on the private SKYTürk 360 TV channel, adding that the result was an outcome of persistent diplomacy, “because Israel needs to feel this pressure.”

The foreign minister said both sides came closer to striking a deal on some occasions but it was the Israeli side that always stepped back. The issue was first brought up during U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Turkey, Davutoğlu said. “After Kerry’s visit we had contact over the telephone, SMS and emails.”

The foreign minister said Kerry came up with an offer initiative that aimed to solve the dispute between the two countries during U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel and Turkey, and accepted the offer on some conditions. “There should be no surprise, everything must be clear and a text should be known.”

Extensive negotiations were conducted over the word “apology,” the compensation to be paid and the lifting the embargo on Gaza, all issued that would be put into the text, according to Davutoğlu. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu discussed the text over the phone, and an agreement was reached by both sides.

All contacts through Washington

Davutoğlu said all contact in the 15 days before the apology was made through Washington, and Turkey and Israel did not contact each other directly. “Obama’s presence during the phone conversation softened the atmosphere,” Davutoğlu said. Turkey demanded first that Israel declare their apology but it was delayed due to the translation of the text into Hebrew, according to the foreign minister. He also dismissed claims that the apology is related to the Syrian crisis. “There is no connection between Turkey’s demand for an apology and its actualization and Turkey’s policy to Iran and Syria; it is out of the question.”