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Israeli Initiative to Restore Relations with Turkey Fails

The head of Israel's National Security Council met a Turkish official in an attempt to restore ties, but to no avail.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 2/24/2013, 4:41 AM

Mavi Marmara
Mavi Marmara
Flash 90

A recent Israeli attempt to restore the strained relations with Turkey failed, according to a report on Channel 2 News on Saturday night.

According to the report, the head of Israel’s National Security Council, Yaakov Amidror, recently met in Rome with the Director-General of the Foreign Ministry in Ankara.

The meeting was held at the initiative of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Office and was also attended by Joseph Ciechanover, formerly the Director-General of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. However, the meeting failed and no agreements were reached.

Israel’s relationship with Turkey broke down completely after the 2010 incident on the Mavi Marmara ship.

The vessel, owned by the Turkish IHH group, was one of six sent to illegally breach Israel's maritime blockade of Gaza as a “humanitarian flotilla” but was found to be carrying nothing. 

When the vessels ignored repeated Israeli navy requests to redirect their boats to Ashdod port, IDF commandos boarded each vessel to force them to port, where the humanitarian aid they were allegedly carrying could be off-loaded and carried to Gaza through the land crossings with Israel.

In the case of the Mavi Marmara, however, the Israeli soldiers – armed only with pistols and paint-ball training guns -- were brutally attacked by the “activists” as they boarded, with several critically injured. The commandos who followed them shot and killed their attackers, leaving nine dead.

Turkish leaders have demanded an apology from Israel over the incident, but Israeli leaders have refused, saying Israel had acted in self-defense.

Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman emphasized in the past that Israel is ready to solve any outstanding disputes with Turkey, but it will not apologize to Ankara for the raid on the Mavi Marmara.

Turkey has several times rejected offers by Israel to improve relations. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erodgan has chosen to deepen the conflict by continuously verbally attacking Israel.

Earlier this month, Erdogan accused Israel of waging "state terrorism", condemning an alleged Israeli air strike in Syria as an unacceptable violation of international law.