Turkish clarification: Turkey’s decision to send two firefighting planes to Israel to assist in battling the Carmel blaze does not attest to improved ties with the Jewish state, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday.
“This step must not be confused with other problems we have with Israel,” the Turkish PM said, repeating his regular list of demands, uttered often in the wake of the Gaza-bound flotilla affair.
“Our demands of them are known by now,” he said. “The ties between us will not improve until they officially apologize and compensate us.”
Friday afternoon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Erdogan on the phone and expressed his gratitude for Turkey’s assistance.
"I told Erdogan that we appreciate the major efforts offered at this time and I am sure that this will open the way for improving the relations between the two countries", Netanyahu said. He added that Erdogan "expressed his and his country's condolences to the families of the 41 casualties and Turkey's willingness to help."
Tensions with Turkey soared earlier in the week, after a senior official in Erdogan’s party accused the Israeli government of initiating the massive WikiLeaks disclosure in the aims of pushing Ankara into a corner.
"We should look at the countries that are satisfied by the leak, and Israel is very satisfied," said Huseyin Celik, the deputy chairman of Turkey's ruling party.