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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Surprise: Erdogan goes back on his word

As part of his conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to restore diplomatic relations with Israel and to drop the trial of four former IDF officers over the Mavi Marmara incident. I'm sure you'll all be shocked to hear that Erdogan is reneging on those promises.
Erdogan said Saturday it was too early to cancel legal steps against Israeli soldiers who took part in the raid on the Mavi Mamara.
According to the Hurriyet daily, Erdogan also said the exchange of ambassadors between Israel and Turkey would not take place immediately.
“We will see what will be put into practice during the process. If [the Israelis] move forward in a promising way, we will make our contribution. Then, there would be an exchange of ambassadors,” Erdogan was quoted as saying, in remarks at an opening ceremony for a high-speed railway line in the central Turkish province of Eskişehir.
Erdogan said that, in the past, Israel had “expressed regret several times, refusing to offer a formal apology” over the killings of nine Turkish citizens of the Marmara in 2010 — the incident that led to the freezing of Israeli-Turkish ties. However, Ankara had “insisted on an apology,” he said.
That apology had finally been delivered by Netanyahu on Friday, he said. “All our demands have now been met with that apology which was offered the way we wanted,” Erdogan said in comments communicated by Today’s Zaman.
Netanyahu’s office had stated after the call Friday that “The two men agreed to restore normalization between Israel and Turkey, including the dispatch of ambassadors and the cancellation of legal steps against IDF soldiers.”
Erdogan also announced plans to visit Gaza, possibly next month. Hamas’s Gaza prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, calling Netanyahu’s apology “a diplomatic victory for Ankara,” confirmed Erdogan would visit “in the near future,” and said this trip would mark “a significant step to ending the political and economic blockade” of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Erdogan told reporters that it wasn’t yet time to talk about dropping the case in which four IDF generals stand accused of war crimes over the incident. The indictment, prepared last summer, sought ten aggravated life sentences for each officer ostensibly involved in the 2010 raid — including former chief of the IDF General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and former head of military intelligence Amos Yadlin.
It will be interesting to see whether President Hussein Obama has the integrity to call his Best Friend Forever on the carpet for breaking his word. I wouldn't bet on it. But I do hope that Congress will take it up with President Obama.

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2 Comments:

At 3:03 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

israel should send a flotilla to occupied Cyprus

 
At 12:23 PM, Blogger josef said...

Mr.Netanyahu,
if you have a bit of backbone,
you will take the apology back.

 

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