Normalization of Turkey-Israel relations a 'fantasy'

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said Turkey would reconsider its stance with Tel Aviv if Israeli government changes its mentality.

Normalization of Turkey-Israel relations a 'fantasy'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has said it would be "fantasy" to talk about his country normalizing relations with Israel under the current conditions in Gaza.

Relations between Turkey and Israel have been strained since Israeli commandos killed eight Turks along with a Turkish-American in May 2010 when they attacked an aid flotilla sailing in support of the Occupied Territories - which included the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara - while it was in international waters off Gaza.

Arinc said late Friday in a televised interview: “Normalization is difficult at this point and even impossible.

"If the Israeli government changes its mentality or something positive takes place regarding the Gaza Strip, Turkey would reconsider its stance on normalization with Tel Aviv.”

Turkey has said that although Israel fulfilled two of the three conditions - an apology and compensation - which Turkey had set for the normalization of ties after the aid flotilla attack, it remained unwilling to fulfill the third condition of lifting its embargo on Gaza.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul and PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan have also said it is difficult to normalize relations with the Israeli government.

Deputy PM Arinc said the ruling AK Party and its members were against anti-Semitism in the wake of accusations that recent statements by Erdogan amounted to anti-Semitic statements.

Arinc said: “We cannot tolerate statements aimed at Jews living in Turkey or the world.”

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu called PM Erdogan an anti-Semite after Erdogan said there was no difference between Hitler's holocaust of the Jews and the Israeli genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

Erdogan rejected the accusation on Friday by saying that he was probably the first prime minister in the world to oppose anti-Semitism.

Israel is disingenuous about peace

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has welcomed a 12-hour humanitarian truce in Gaza but slammed the Israeli government as being "disingenuous" about peace efforts.

Davutoglu's comments came on Saturday after he travelled to Qatari capital Doha the day before to broker a ceasefire deal.

Davutoglu, his Qatari counterpart Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah and Hamas leader Khaled Mashal worked on a ceasefire deal but it was rejected by the Israeli government in the early hours of Saturday.

Following the collapse of the proposal, Israel and Palestinian resistance factions reached an agreement - proposed earlier by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon - for a 12-hour lull in the conflict for humanitarian reasons.

On his Twitter account, Turkish FM Davutoglu welcomed the temporary truce, but added: “If the Israeli side expressed consent to the joint text reached after day-long negotiations with the Palestinian side in Qatar yesterday, we could have been discussing a more solid ceasefire.

"Israel's stance clearly indicates how disingenuous they are about the peace efforts.”

International talks aimed at reaching a longer truce are set to resume in the French capital of Paris. Davutoglu initiated talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry at the US Embassy in Paris on Saturday.

Foreign ministers of the UK, Italy, Germany and Qatar alongside Turkey and the US as well as EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will discuss a seven-day-long ceasefire, according to diplomatic sources.

Israel's recent attacks in Gaza dubbed "Operation Protective Edge" have dealt a major blow to hopes of normalizing ties between the two states.

The latest deaths bring the total number of Palestinians killed to almost 1,000 by Israel's onslaught on the besieged coastal territory, which began on July 7.

At least 5,900 Gazans have also been injured, most of them critically.

According to official Israeli figures, 40 Israelis – 37 soldiers and three civilians – have been killed since hostilities began almost three weeks ago.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 26 Temmuz 2014, 16:06