Barak leading the opposition against an apology to Turks

Saleh Naami in Gaza, Saturday 11 Dec 2010

Israel's Ynet reports defense minister is main opponent to Israeli apology for flotilla deaths. Apology was set as Turkish condition for any normalization of ties between the two countries

A report today in Israeli's Ynet (website of Yediot Ahronot daily) cited Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak as the power broker obstructing any sort of Israeli apologetic statement to the Turkish government.

Relations between the once-strategic allies, Turkey and Israel, have been mired since the fatal flotilla incident in which an Israeli army special unit killed nine peace activists on board the Mavi Marmara heading to Gaza in an attempt to break the siege.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has set up a list of conditions for any normalization of ties between the two countries. Erdogan has included an Israeli apology, compensation payments to the flotilla victims and easing of the siege on Gaza as prerequisites.

The Ynet report named Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman as the main opponents to such an apology.

Members of the Turkish cabinet stated that hard-liners within the Israel army had undermined talks between Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu and Israel's representative at the UN flotilla commission Yosef Ciechanover, which ended recently in Geneva.

A Turkish foreign ministry spokesperson said Friday that no new meeting has been scheduled between the two parties, but noted that it did not mean the talks have been stalled.

“Contacts will continue,” the spokesperson told reporters at a press briefing.


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