Did Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agree to apologize to Turkey for the deadly raid on the first Gaza-bound flotilla only to change his mind? Ankara's daily newspaper Hurriyet reported Monday that Netanyahu did just that – and three times.
According to the report, the prime minister sought to repair the damage caused to Jerusalem-Ankara relations by extending an official apology for the killing of nine Turkish citizens by Israeli Naval Commandos in May of 2010.
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He reportedly backed out of the move – on three separate occasions – fearing it may prove politically detrimental.
With a second flotilla looming, the Hurriyet reported that several clandestine meetings were held between Israeli and Turkish delegates in Geneva, after Turkey sent aid to Israel during the Carmel fire in December.
The newspaper alleged that Netanyahu agreed not only to apologize for the raid, but to pay restitution to the victims and their families.
He later backed out of his pledge, allegedly due to political considerations, and opted to "express his deepest regrets over the incident," instead.
The Hurriyet ventured that Netanyahu's coalition would not have survived such a move.
The diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey have been strained by the events of the first flotilla, but lately there have been reports of mild overtures on both sides.
Israel has recently named a new military attaché to Turkey, Netanyahu congratulated Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his recent reelection and Vice Premier Moshe Yaalon recently meant with senior officials in Ankara's Foreign Ministry.
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