Turkey dismisses claims of US mediation between Turkey, Israel
Turkey dismissed reports on Tuesday by Israeli daily Maariv that the United States is mediating between Turkey and Israel to mend broken ties, adding that its demands are clear, Today's Zaman reported.
The report on Monday claimed that the US had urged both sides to talk to each other and report back to their people that their demands have been fulfilled. According to the report, the reconciliation formula would include telephone calls between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on normalization. Erdoğan would then tell the Turkish public that Israel has apologized for a deadly raid last year and Netanyahu would tell the Israeli public that he only expressed regret.
Turkish and Israeli relations were badly damaged last year after Israel raided the Mavi Marmara, carrying humanitarian aid during an attempt to breach the Gaza blockade, which Turkey says is illegal. The storming of the ship left nine Turkish civilians dead, including an American citizen.
Turkey demands an official apology, compensation for the families of victims and an end to the blockade. Israel only expressed regret over the incident and claims its soldiers acted in self-defense.
The report also claimed that Turkey and Israel, in the following stages of the reconciliation process, will consent to the return of both countries' ambassadors and the restoration of diplomatic relations. A statement released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said the Maariv report is false.
The statement added that it is clear what Israel needs to do for progress in Turkish-Israeli relations. "Our position and expectations have not changed," it concluded.