Israeli negotiator David Meidan is expected to head to Ankara to seek a compromise on wording of an “apology” to the Turkish government that can thaw relations between the two nations, according to reports published Thursday in Hebrew-language Israeli media.
Meidan, a former Mossad official, was the lead negotiator who arranged the prisoner swap with the Hamas terrorist rulers of Gaza for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
The report was made public Thursday on the Hebrew-language Heder HaHadashot website.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office refused to confirm or deny the possiblity that Meidan was traveling to Turkey on such a mission, however. “I can't comment on that,” Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev told Arutz Sheva.
The apology is one that has been demanded by the Turkish government for more than year over the deaths of nine terror activists who were involved in a clash between IDF naval commandos and their attackers aboard a Turkish vessel that was part of a flotilla attempting to breach Israel's blockade of Gaza. Turkey claimed the Mavi Marmara vessel was carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza -- a claim subsequently prove to be false.
The terrorists, all armed, attacked the soldiers as they boarded to take control of the vessel to redirect it to Ashdod port after the captain refused repeated requests to change course. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly attacked Israel in the media and reduced diplomatic ties between the two countries since the IDF conducted its 3-week counter terrorist mini-war against Hamas in the winter of 2008-2009. Relations have been strained between Ankara and Jerusalem even further since the May 2010 clash aboard the Mavi Marmara flotilla vessel.