President Abdullah Gul told an Israeli daily that Israel apologized to Turkey "too late" after Israeli navy commandoes stormed a Turkish ship which was on its way to deliver humanitarian aid to the Palestinian enclave of Gaza in May 2010 Today`s Zaman reported.
In late March, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkey over the raid on the Mavi Marmara aid ship which killed nine Turkish activists including one Turkish-American. After the apology, Turkish and Israeli officials began talks in April on compensation for families of the victims of the aid ship, one of the Turkish conditions for restoring relations with Israel.
Gul, responding to a question by the Yedioth Ahronoth daily after a meeting of the İstanbul Forum last week, said: "In order to end this conflict and the difference of opinion between us, we had certain expectations of Israel. Israel responded to part of our expectations when it apologized. But this step was taken at a late stage; Israel apologized too late. Some of our expectations have not yet been met," the daily reported Gul as saying.
Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Israel and expelled the Israeli ambassador in Ankara after the Mavi Marmara raid, demanding a formal apology, compensation for families of the victims and the lifting of the Israeli blockade of Gaza to restore ties.
The Israeli daily also reported a Turkish diplomatic advisor as saying that a breakthrough in the normalization process was not to be expected in the near future. "As long as Erdoğan is the prime minister of Turkey, there will not be a change for the positive in relations with Israel. Erdoğan has lots of complaints against you [Israel] already from the period of [Ehud] Olmert. When will a reversal in relations come? Maybe only after the presidential elections in 2014 and the elections for parliament in 2015, which will decide who will serve as the next prime minister of Turkey," the Turkish diplomatic advisor was reported as saying.