(JNS.org) Government officials have signaled that Israel’s efforts to normalize
its diplomatic relations with Turkey have failed, Israel Hayom reported.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Credit: World Economic Forum.
Israel-Turkey relations soured in May 2010, when Israeli naval commandos
boarded the ship Mavi Marmara to enforce Israel’s naval blockade on the Gaza
Strip. Militants attacked the commandos on board, and the ensuing clash left
nine Turkish nationals dead and several Israeli soldiers wounded.
During U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel in March, Obama
arranged a phone call between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Turkish
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which Netanyahu apologized for the
deaths of the Turkish citizens during the Marmara raid.
Israel and Turkey agreed to start negotiations with the stated goal of
bring relations back to normal, including returning ambassadors to Ankara and
Tel Aviv. The negotiations, however, failed to produce an agreement. According
to government sources cited by Israel
Hayom, the two issues that caused the talks to deadlock were the amount of
compensation the Turkish victims’ families would be paid and the very
definition of the restitution payment.
A compromise could have been reached over the sum to be paid, a source
said, but the root of them problem was Turkey’s insistence on calling the
payments “punitive damages” and not “compensation,” which carries different
legal ramifications to which Israel could not agree.