Erdogan: Don't Expect 'Normal' Ties, Despite Apology
Before Turkey normalizes ties with Israel, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sunday, it expects Israel to “fulfill its promises. It is impossible to normalize ties without Israeli actions, Erdogan wrote in his Twitter feed. “Turkey has done its part to defend the Palestinian people,” he added.
In a phone call Friday, minutes after U.S. President Barack H. Obama left the country, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu phoned Erdogan to express Israel's regret at the death of Turks in the Mavi Marmara incident of 2010. The Turks, members of terror groups allied with Hamas and Hizbullah, attempted to kill lightly armed IDF soldiers who boarded the ships of the Gaza flotilla. Forced to fight for their lives, the soldiers killed 9 of the Turkish terror supporters.
It was for that incident Netanyahu “expressed Israel's regret,” although Erdogan said Sunday that Netanyahu had apologized for the Turkish loss of life. Nevertheless, Erdogan wrote, Turkey wanted more than words from Israel. Among those actions, he wrote, was a payment of compensation to the families of those killed. “The money will not bring them back, but will prove to Israel that Turkey does not forget and will not abandon the rights of its 'shaheedeem' (the Arabic word for Muslim martyrs).”
In addition, he said, Israel must remove the naval and land blockades of Gaza if it wanted normal ties with Turkey. “I stress that we expect Israel to fulfill its promises regarding the blockades,” he wrote, adding that he planned to visit Gaza in a month or so.