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      Erdogan: No Apology? No Thaw

      Turkish Prime Minister – if Israel does not apologize and pay compensation for Marmara, relations will not improve.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 8/17/2011, 7:38 PM

      Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted Wednesday to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's refusal to apologize to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara affair, and told reporters: "Rejection of our decision is unacceptable. As long as Israel does not apologize, does not pay compensation and continues to place an embargo on the Palestinian people, there will be no improvement in the relations between Turkey and Israel."

      Earlier Wednesday it was reported that Netanyahu turned down U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s requests and will not apologize to Turkey for the IDF’s counter terrorist action. 
       
      Senior members of the Cabinet have strongly opposed the apology that Turkey has demanded and they said that if anyone should say he is sorry, it should be Erdogan. 
       
      Likud Ministers Benny Begin and Moshe Ya’alon, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beiteinu and Interior Minister Eli Yishai of Shas have said that Israel has nothing to apologize for. There were reports that Lieberman threatened to resign if an apology was issued. 
       
      The Obama administration has been anxious to improve ties between Jerusalem and Ankara. 
       
      A United Nations report by an investigation committee headed by Geoffrey Palmer is due to be published next week. It is expected to partly blame Turkey for the confrontation on the high seas, while accusing Israel of a disproportionate action.