Ankara has rejected an invitation extended by Israel’s Foreign Ministry to hold talks on the crisis in Syria, news media in Turkey reported Monday.
According to the reports, Deputy Director General of the Foreign Ministry Pinhas Avivi told Turkish journalists in Jerusalem that Israel and Turkey should put their discord aside to discuss the escalating violence in Syria, which he warned could affect both countries.
“We have to overcome our issues and focus on the future,” Aivivi was quoted as saying by the Hurriyet Daily News. “We have both made some mistakes, but the escalated crisis between Israel and Turkey was artificial. We can sit around the table and solve our problems.”
According to Hurriyet, the Turkish foreign service then dismissed the overture, saying that Israel must demonstrate its intentions to restore the ties with Turkey through actions, not words.
“There is no change in Turkey’s stance towards Israel. Israeli authorities have to take the expected steps to normalize relations instead of giving messages through the press,” Turkish foreign ministry spokesperson Selçuk Ünal was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
The Turkish newspaper said Avivi suggested the Jewish state is ready to negotiate over the Israeli raid on the Turkish Gaza-bound flotilla, which resulted in the deaths of eight Turkish nationals and one American in 2010 and pitted the two countries against each other.
Turkey has stipulated that Israel must issue an apology before talks aimed at restoring the ties could begin. Jerusalem has so far refused to do so, saying that the raid was an act of self defense.
According Turkish reports, Avivi indicated that the Jewish state could agree to the precondition if Turkey agreed to keep the situation in the Gaza Strip separate from the relations between the two countries.
Jerusalem confirmed that Foreign Ministry officials have told Turkish reporters that Israel is interested in repairing the ties with Turkey and beginning a dialogue over the situation in the region, including the civial war in Syria. The officials, however, said the statement was not an official invitation.
Source: Ynet News