The Israeli regime has reportedly dismissed Turkey’s moves for normalization of relations, saying Tel Aviv will not make any more concessions to return ties back to normal with “isolated Turks.”
Turkey cut ties with Israel in 2010, in the wake of a deadly raid by Israeli commandos on a Turkish Mavi Marmara vessel sailing toward the blockaded Gaza Strip. Nine Turkish citizens were killed in the incident.
On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his previous preconditions for the normalization of ties with the Tel Aviv regime, saying the Israelis have apologized and accepted to pay compensation over the flotilla incident, but they have still to lift the blockade on Gaza.
Erdogan, who was speaking to reporters on a flight back from Turkmenistan, claimed the normalization of ties with Israel is good for the entire Middle East, saying, “The region definitely needs this,” the Turkish newspaper, Daily Sabah, reported.
Israeli officials, however, have reportedly rejected the demand.
“The ball is in their court. We apologized and were ready to pay damages. He should stop talking nonsense about the removal of the Gaza blockade,” an unknown Israeli official told the Jerusalem Post, adding, “We are not about to pay more for normalization.”
The renewed call by Erdogan comes as Ankara has been locked in a row with Moscow over the shooting down of a Russian fighter jet by the Turkish military on November 24.
Quoting political sources, Israeli media have recently said that Ankara has expedited efforts for better ties with Israel since Russia began to impose sanctions on Turkey over the jet incident.
“The Turks are isolated… it seems that Ankara wants to normalize relations with Israel, and is especially interested in the gas deal which will see Israel establishing a pipeline from their fields to Turkey and other places in the world,” said an anonymous Israeli official, adding that Turks have become increasingly concerned about Israel’s improved gas cooperation with Greece and Cyprus.
Turkey faced even more criticism after it illegally deployed a battalion of troops with heavy weaponry to northern Iraq on December 4, prompting a harsh response from Baghdad and other governments. Ankara on Monday began to “rearrange” its troops around the northern city of Mosul after Iraq submitted a formal complaint to the UN Security Council.