Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said Monday that Turkey's demand for an Israeli apology for deaths aboard the Gaza flotilla last year constitutes "chutzpah."
Speaking on Voice of Israel government-run radio, Yaalon noted that the flotilla – which pitted armed thugs against IDF soldiers, while posing as a humanitarian mission – was a provocation, and that Ankara bears some of the responsibility for this. Turkey wants to "stand Israel in the corner" and raise its own prestige in the eyes of the Arabs, Hizbullah and Hamas at Israel's expense, he added.
"The Turkish policy will not change if we apologize," he explained.
Besides Yaalon, ministers Avigdor Lieberman, Benny Begin and Eli Yishai oppose any form of apology to Turkey. Voice of Israel said that ministers Ehud Barak, Dan Meridor and Yuval Steinitz would favor a blandly worded apology.
Minister Uzi Landau told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew language broadcasts that "Turkey is the one that needs to apologize for the provocation in the Marmara flotilla that it was behind. Turkey is the one that needs to explain its tightening connections with Hamas and radical Muslim elements."
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon did not rule out an apology but said that "Israel is willing to accept a reasonable and logical compromise" with Turkey.