Why Turkey pulled out of the flotilla of fools?Perhaps this is why Turkey pulled out of the flotilla of fools. It seems that the United Nations is about to issue its report on last year's flotilla, in which nine Turkish terrorists were killed. The report apparently favors Israel so strongly (according to Haaretz, which is not exactly a fan of the current government) that Turkey has asked the United Nations to tone it down (Hat Tip: Soccer Dad).
The director general of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Feridun Sinirlioglu, conveyed Turkey's request in a secret meeting early last week in Geneva with Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon.The UN investigator has said that he will change the report based on any agreement between Israel and Turkey to do so.
A draft of the report, due to be released within two weeks, was given to Israel and Turkey about six weeks ago. The committee determined that Israel's naval blockade of Gaza is in keeping with international law, and therefore its actions to stop the flotilla were also legal.
According to a senior government official in Jerusalem, the report criticizes the Turkish government and highlights the relationship between it and IHH, the group that organized the flotilla.
The report also states that, while Israel Defense Forces soldiers acted in self-defense, they used disproportionate force that led to the death of nine Turkish citizens. The report recommends that Israel pay compensation to the families of the dead and injured Turkish citizens, which Israel has already said it is willing to do.
The official said the Turks would like to soften the parts of the report that could cause a political storm in Turkey.
During the meeting with Ya'alon, the Turks suggested that the toning down of the report would lead to an end to the crisis and the normalalization of relations between the countries, which would include the return of the Turkish ambassador to Tel Aviv.
The reason that the parties have not reached an agreement, according to Haaretz, is that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has not yielded on the demand for an apology from Israel. Turkey's Hurriyet Daily is reporting that Prime Minister Netanyahu has agreed to the demand three times and then backed out three times out of fear that an apology would cause Avigdor Lieberman to take Yisrael Beiteinu out of the government (Hat Tip: Joshua I). The Hurriyet report does not mention the Haaretz story. Israel Radio has reported the apology story.
I'm not thrilled with the idea that we're going to help Erodgan down from his tree. The reason that the government is willing to consider it is that it feels that this may be our last chance to repair our relations with Turkey. Once the report is released, it will be much more difficult for the two countries to reach an accommodation. My own view is that Turkey is never going to reach an accommodation with us anyway, and we might as well play the UN report for all it is worth.
But in any event, it should be clear why, under the circumstances, Turkey felt that it could not participate in the flotilla of fools that hopes to reach Gaza this week.