Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday urged Israel to end the siege of the Gaza Strip as he repeated demands on apology and compensation over a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship in May.
Erdogan spoke after Turkish and Israeli diplomats met for two days in Geneva in a bid to overcome crisis since Israeli soldiers killed 9 Turkish activists in the May 31 raid into Gaza aid flotilla.
Erdogan has said that no one could determine course of the country's foreign policy.
Prime Minister Erdogan said at a parliamentary group meeting of the ruling Justice & Development (AK) Party on Tuesday, "Turkey cannot remain indifferent in the face of developments in its region. We cannot neglect our relations with the neighboring and regional countries. And our interest in regional developments do not indicate any shift of axis."
He recalled that Turkey send aircraft to Israel to help efforts to extinguish a major forest fire in Haifa. "Yes, we have mobilized sources to heal the wounds of Palestinian people in Gaza. Now, we rushed to help Israel with the same sincerity. We cannot remain indifferent to destruction of woodland and killing of people in fire just because we have problems with Israel. It contradicts our understanding of humanity and our moral values. But we did not forget what happened in Gaza," he said.
He said that if Israel wanted to commence a new period, it should admit its crime, apologize and pay compensation to families of the victims. "Otherwise, we will not take a single step. We do not act with hatred and enmity. On the contrary, we aim at ensuring peace, stability, justice and prosperity in our region. But we do not tolerate such a wrongdoing," he said.
"And we are also saying that the embargoes -- which have been relaxed but that's not enough -- must be lifted," he added.
Senior diplomats from the two countries met on Sunday and Monday in Geneva in an effort to mend fences.
The two sides are reportedly seeking a deal, under which Israel would apologise over the raid and compensate the families of victims, while Turkey would agree to send back its ambassador to Tel Aviv.
"WikiLeaks docs US problem"
Referring to release of secret U.S. diplomatic cables by the internet site Wikileaks, Prime Minister Erdogan said, "those cables include extremely unappropriate and unpleasant expressions about Turkey and other countries. It is evident that diplomats tried to draw a frame in line with their own intentions and desires by following some certain media organs and circles. Release of the secret cables revealed a very serious problem about the U.S. diplomacy with its own diplomats. Actually it is the problem of the United States itself."
Erdogan denied once again the allegations in the diplomatic cables that he had money in eight accounts at Swiss banks. "If the main opposition party proves that I have bank accounts in Switzerland, I donate all I have to the Republican People's Party (CHP)," he said.