Turkey Rejects Israeli Peace Overtures
The Turkish Foreign Ministry has rebuffed overtures from Pinhas Avivi, an advisor to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and former Israeli ambassador to Turkey from 2003-2007, according to an article in the Hurriyet Daily News, a Turkish English-language daily.
According to the story, during a discussion at the Israeli Foreign Ministry Avivi noted that it would be beneficial to both countries to normalize relations. “We have to overcome our issues and focus on the future. We have both made some mistakes, but the escalated crisis between Israel and Turkey was artificial. We can sit around the table and solve our problems.”
Hurriyet reported that Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson SelÃ§uk Ünal responded, “There is no change in Turkey’s stance towards Israel. Israeli authorities have to take the expected steps to normalize relations instead of giving messages through the press.”
The Hurriyet article noted that Avivi said Israel was ready to negotiate over the Mavi Marmara issue without any preconditions.
Relations between the two countries have been fractious since a 2010 raid on a boat trying to undermine Israeli efforts to prevent the flow of weapons to Gaza turned deadly. Nine Turkish nationals were killed after they violently attacked Israeli solders as they boarded the boat. Turkey has demanded that Israel issue an official apology, open an independent internal investigation and pay compensation. Israel has declined these requests.
The Israel Foreign Ministry denied that any official proposal was offered. Ilana Stein, spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry told The Algemeiner of Avivi’s comments that “He meant that we are extending our hand for friendship and the relations that we had. He meant that we want to have relations the way it was, he didn’t mean that there was an actual written proposal. Israel still wants and is hopeful that our relationship will return to what it used to be.”