Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, has stated that the apology made by Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, over Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara ship in 2010 has nothing to do with the Syrian crisis.
Davutoglu said in an interview with the Turkish radio and television network, TRT, that the latest development in the Israeli situation has nothing to do with Turkey’s stance on the current Syrian crisis He stressed that “Turkey does not deceive at all in its stances, and it holds on to them because it is right about its claims.”
The Turkish minister noted that Erdogan had consulted with the Palestinian Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniya, and Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, to get their approval before receiving Netanyahu’s phone call. He also phoned Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsi, Lebanese Prime Minister, Najib Miqati, (prior to his resignation) and the Qatari Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani.
Davatoglu added that the phone conversation with Netanyahu occurred afterwards; he spoke with Netanyahu first then the phone was handed to US President Barack Obama – the call lasted for 20 – 30 minutes. He noted that the three way phone call occurred after the content of a joint statement had been agreed on.
Davatoglu said that Turkey’s main demands had been met in reference to Israel’s apology, as well as its agreement to pay compensations to the families of the victims, and to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip. He also said that Israel had felt international isolation after the Mavi Marmara incident.
The Turkish foreign minister noted that the apology crowns three-years of effort and highlighted the efforts made by US Secretary of State, John Kerry, in reaching an agreement on the content of a joint statement after his visit to Ankara on March 1.
He also said that the Turks had spoken with Kerry six times over the past week, stressing that they were in contact with US officials who had just mediated the final agreement before Obama’s visit to Israel. It was agreed that Netanyahu would call Erdogan while the latter was in Obama’s company.
The Turkish minister called on Israel to rethink its actions, adding that the apology was nothing but the beginning, and that the road had now been paved for a revival of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process on equal grounds.