Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip ErdoganIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan told members of his party that he rejected an earlier version of Israel’s apology for the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reports.

Erdogan claimed that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s staff contacted him before United States President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel with a proposed statement. The statement would have expressed sorrow over the deaths of Turkish citizens, he said.

Erdogan said he rejected the statement as insufficient, and insisted that Israel use the word “apology.”

Israel did ultimately offer an apology, which Turkey has not hurried to accept.

According to Reshet Bet, one of Erdogan’s top advisors described Netanyahu’s apology as a great success for Turkey, but said there remain several obstacles to a normalization of relations between the two countries – in particular, the “bleak chances of the establishment of a Palestinian state in the 67 borders, with east Jerusalem as its capital.”

The Mavi Marmara was one of several ships that took part in a 2010 effort to defy Israel’s naval blockade of Hamas. Israel’s navy intercepted the ships and redirected them to ports in southern Israel.

When soldiers boarded the Mavi Marmara they were beaten and stabbed, with some suffering serious injuries. When a passenger on the ship shot a soldier, soldiers fired back, killing nine Turkish citizens.