Turkish premier: no normalization in relations until Israel apologizes
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkish-Israeli relations would not be normalized until Israel made a formal apology, paid a certain compensation to the families of the victims and ended its blockade over Gaza, AA reported.
Holding a joint press conference with Luxembourg's Prime Minister Jean Claude Juncker in Ankara on Thursday, Erdogan said regarding Turkish-Israeli relations that nobody had the right to attack on any ship which was sailing in international waters, adding that Israel staged a military operation on such a ship.
On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos raided a humanitarian aid flotilla heading for Gaza, killing nine Turkish nationals one of whom was a U.S. citizen. Turkey said after the attack that it expected Israel to make a formal apology, pay a certain compensation to the families of the victims and to end its blockade over Gaza.
The United Nations established an inquiry panel to examine the incident. The UN panel's long-awaited "Palmer Report" was handed over to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on September 2.
The report said Israel's interception of the vessels was "excessive and unreasonable," while the flotilla acted "recklessly" in attempting to breach the naval blockade. It also said the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza was imposed as a "legitimate security measure" to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea.
Recently, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu unveiled a series of decisions concerning Turkish-Israeli relations.
The decisions included downgrading Turkish-Israeli diplomatic ties to the level of a second-secretary, suspension of military agreements, measures pertaining to freedom of navigation in the Eastern Mediterranean and demanding a review of the Israeli blockade over Gaza by the International Court of Justice.
Erdogan said that although the report said Israel's interception of the vessels was "excessive and unreasonable," Israeli Premier Binyamin Netanyahu reflected the situation differently.
Regarding Israel's failure to send back unmanned aerial vehicles --Herons-- which Turkey had sent for maintenance, Erdogan said that this issue had a deadline but Israel did not deliver the vehicles. He added that Turkey currently had six Herons in Israel.
Erdogan said that Turkey paid the cost of the maintenance and Israel should deliver them.