Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Bilateral Relations: Turkey, Israel attempt to mend ties

PanARMENIAN.Net - Israeli and Turkish officials met in Geneva on Sunday, December 5, in an attempt to draft an agreement aiming to mend the foundering ties between the countries due to the Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla last May.

Joseph Ciechanover, a senior Israeli diplomat, was sent to Geneva to meet Turkish Foreign Minister Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to thank him for sending firefighting planes to help battle the fire in northern Israel that killed 41 people.

The Israeli and Turkish diplomats speculated that in an agreement, Israel would apologize to Turkey for the events of the Gaza flotilla and compensate it accordingly, and in exchange Turkey would return its ambassador to Tel-Aviv and agree to appoint a new Israeli envoy in Ankara.

A senior Turkish diplomat said that the purpose of the meeting in Geneva was to discuss an agreement that would put an end to the crisis between the two countries.

Turkey demands that Israel apologize for killing nine Turkish citizens on the Mavi Marmara ship and compensate those hurt as a result of the Israel Defense Forces raid.

Earlier on Sunday, Erdogan underlined the Turkish position, saying Israel and Turkey would turn a new leaf in their relations, but first Israel would have to apologize and pay compensation. For its part, Israel is interested in normalization of relations with the Turks nearly six months after Turkey withdrew its ambassador to the country. Israel's crisis in relations with Turkey has also caused the Turks considerable diplomatic damage in Washington, Haaretz reported.