Turkey: Israel would take days to send planes
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu continues to demand apology for flotilla raid, says rifts in Israeli government making it difficult to patch up ties. 'Messages it sends are contradictory, tough rivalry exists in coalition,' he explains
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Saturday that internal strife in the Israeli government was keeping the two states from patching up relations.
"The messages it sends are contradictory and there is tough rivalry within the coalition," he said.
Speaking at a press conference in Ankara, Davutoglu responded to questions regarding the renewal of friendly ties after Israel's raid on a Turkish flotilla ship in May, in which nine were killed.
"Turkey has the will to make peace with everyone, so why should Israel be different? We had good ties with them until 2008," he said, referring to the period before Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
"The fact that we have the will to make peace does not mean that others have the same will. It is very difficult to produce political concurrence in Israel."
The foreign minister said Turkey's decision to send planes in order to help Israel extinguish the large Carmel fire was made within minutes, "while the Israeli government would have taken days to decide if the situation were reversed".
"The problem with Israel, which is true for much of the world, is that the government does not have a unified stance. The messages it sends are contradictory."
Of late Turkey has demanded that Israel apologize for the raid on the Mavi Marmara ship, but both Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have objected.
"What we have been saying from the beginning is what we are saying now. No friendship can overshadow the fact that Turkish civilians were killed," Davutoglu said.
US cables recently revealed by WikiLeaks call Davutoglu an extremist, but on Saturday he said he would not be present at an IHH event welcoming the Marmara vessel home.
"This initiative has nothing to do with the government. It has to do with a private organization. I am not opposed, but it has been misused," he said, adding that rumors of the group's connection to the leading party are false.