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Netanyahu refuses to apologise to Turkey

February 16, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Israel’s interim Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday rejected an initiative by his Defence Minister, Ehud Barack, to apologise to Turkey over the killing of nine Turkish citizens aboard the Freedom Flotilla in 2010.

According to Israel’s Haartez newspaper, Netanyahu expressed grave anger over Barack’s initiative, and he completely rejected the idea.

The initiative was a letter from the defence minister to the prime minister urging him to take the step.

According to the newspaper, the letter suggested that, “We [Israel] officially apologise for the operational mistakes which could have happened while the army extended control over the Marmara ship in May 2010.”

The Mavi Marmara was one of six ships in a flotilla which set off from Cyprus with the aim of breaching the Israeli siege which has been imposed on Gaza since 2006. The Gaza Freedom Flotilla was organized by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH).

Israeli media reported a Turkish newspaper as saying that an official apology by Israel may occur in light of US president Barack Obama’s visit to the region next month. The Turkish newspaper said that behind closed doors, Obama was pushing for this measure in an attempt to repair Turkish Israeli relations which have been in deadlock since the incident.