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Friday, June 28, 2013

Israeli official: Time for Turkey to pay a price

Despite a reshuffling of ambassadors, Turkey still has not posted an ambassador to Israel - and that's just the start of the problems (Hat Tip: Joshua I). Turkey has done none of what it promised President Obama it would do back in March, and it continues to raise obstacles to reconciliation with Israel, leading one Israeli official to conclude that it's time for Turkey to pay a price.
A statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office at the time said the countries agreed to normalize diplomatic relations, including an exchange of ambassadors. Erdogan, according to the statement, said Turkey would terminate all legal proceedings launched against IDF soldiers who were involved in the raid and would prevent similar legal action in the future.

However, following Netanyahu's apology, the Turks appeared to be in no hurry to fulfill their end of the deal. Israel agreed to pay $5 million in restitution, while Ankara demanded $40 million. During talks held over the past few days the Turks have expressed their agreement to receive $24 million from Israel, while the Israeli side raised its offer to $14 million - a regular Turkish bazaar.

And if this wasn't enough, the Turks announced they could not guarantee that IDF soldiers and officers who were involved in the raid, including former IDF Chief Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, would not be prosecuted, claiming that in Turkey the "executive branch cannot influence the judicial branch."

According to the Turks, Erdogan cannot act to stop the legal proceedings while anti-government protests are taking place because he does not want his constituents to view him as being pro-Israeli.

In light of Turkey's conduct, Israel is considering the possibility of exacting a diplomatic price from Ankara with the help of a pro-Israeli Congressman. "After they fed us smelly fish and ran us out of town, it's time that the Turks pay a price for their nasty behavior," a senior official said.

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