Turkey shuns normalization with Israel despite Gaza flotilla apology

(JNS.org) Despite the Israeli apology for the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident, Turkey said it objects to meeting Israeli diplomats at the upcoming Mediterranean Dialogue group, an annual forum between NATO and seven Mediterranean countries in which Israel was supposed to have participated for the first time since 2008.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Credit: World Economic Forum.

In addition, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday that Turkey would not send an envoy to Israel as part of a recent move to normalize ties before Israel lifts its naval blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Erdoğan reiterated that Israel must lift the blockade before there can be full restoration of diplomatic ties, Israel Hayom reported Sunday, citing the Turkish newspaper Zaman.

According to the Turkish daily Hurriyet, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the 12th and current secretary-general of NATO, planned to invite the foreign ministers from Mediterranean countries including Israel and six Arab states, but Turkey has objected, arguing that “it wasn’t the right time” for such a meeting.

“The general-secretary was planning to invite the foreign ministers of the Mediterranean Dialogue countries on the sidelines of the NATO foreign ministers meeting scheduled for April 23, but Turkey objected to the idea,” a Western diplomatic source told Hürriyet on the condition of anonymity.

A Turkish official told Hurriyet, “At this stage, such a meeting would not be useful.”

Posted on April 14, 2013 .