The United States has allegedly restarted its efforts to rescue badly damaged Turkish-Israeli ties, its two most important allies in the Middle East, the Israeli media reported on Monday.
The state-run Anatolia news agency, quoting a report published in Yedioth Ahronot, reported that a senior Israeli official confirmed that meditation efforts are being undertaken by the US to restore Turkish-Israeli ties. The report also claimed that the US has tried in vain to make Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Israeli President Shimon Peres talk over the phone.
The Israeli officials added that Turkey has rejected the offer and reiterated its position that ties won’t be normalized until Turkey’s demands — an official apology, compensation for the families of victims and an end to the Gaza blockade — are met.
Turkish-Israeli relations were badly damaged following a lethal Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara ship that left nine Turkish civilians dead. Turkey has demanded an official apology, but Israel only expressed regret over the flotilla deaths. Israel says its soldiers acted in self-defense. Earlier this month Turkey imposed a set of initial sanctions against Israel to push the Jewish state to address Turkey’s requests.
Anatolia said Israeli news portal Walla also published a similar report, claiming that US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro proposed US mediation between the two countries. Shapiro told Army Radio in an interview that the US will help rescue Turkish-Israeli ties.
He also said the US certainly doesn’t agree with everything Erdoğan says, but that Turkey is an important NATO ally, just as Israel is an important ally. “We would like to see Israel-Turkey relations return to what they once were, and we will help to return these ties,” Shapiro said, whose remarks were published in the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
27 September 2011, Tuesday / TODAYSZAMAN.COM,