World Bulletin / News Desk
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied reports suggesting that Israel has in principle agreed to offer an apology and pay compensation to Turkey over a deadly raid into Gaza aid ship on May 31 that left 9 activists deal in international waters.
Netanyahu's denial came in response to questions from his Likud Party on Monday.
Netanyahu said reports concerning financial compensation for the families of Turkish victims and of issuing an apology to Turkey over the matter were not true, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Netanyahu was quoted as stressing, that ongoing talks with Turkey were "intended to prevent any prosecution of Israeli soldiers" who carried out the raid that led to the killing of eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American on the Mavi Marmara, which was part of an aid flotilla destined for Gaza.
Last Sunday and Monday, senior Israeli and Turkish diplomats held talks in Geneva for the normalization of bilateral relations, which have severely deteriorated since the raid. The Geneva talks were initiated after Turkey, on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's orders, sent fire-fighting aircraft to assist in the battle against a devastating fire in Israel.
"Discussion at parliament"
The core point of disagreement in talks between Israeli and Turkish diplomats is the word “apology,” Özdem Sanberk, who represents Turkey at the UN inquiry panel for the flotilla incident, confirmed last week, underlining that the Turkish side has not negotiated a single word other than the word “apology.” Sanberk, in remarks published by the Turkish daily Taraf on Monday, said the Geneva talks agreed on the “parameters” but not on the “words.”
“As a matter of fact, in Geneva, an agreement was reached over the parameters more than an agreement over the words: Israel will offer an apology and pay compensation,” Sanberk was quoted as saying by Taraf, while he noted that relations will be “normalized,” going straight back to May 30. In line with the principal agreement in Geneva, Turkey will in exchange send an ambassador to Tel Aviv, he added.
Also on Monday a commission of parliamentary group leaders led by the Knesset speaker approved holding a plenum hearing on Turkey's demand for an apology and compensation.
Deputy Knesset Speaker Danny Danon, who is from Netanyahu's Likud Party is on Wednesday expected to submit a motion for the agenda during a Knesset plenum hearing in a bid to compel the coalition government to present its stance on the matter, Israeli media reported on Tuesday.
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