United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has postponed for the third time the release of the UN-commissioned Palmer report, probing the IDF raid on the first Gaza-bound flotilla in May 2010, slated to be released on Tuesday, Ankara sources reported Monday.
According to the sources, a UN spokesperson said the publication of the report has been delayed at the behest of Israel.
More on Israel-Turkey crisis:
- Netanyahu to Clinton: No apology to Turkey
- Israel's embassy in Turkey might not have new ambassador
- Barak: We must apologize for flotilla errors
Meanwhile, Turkey continues to fume over Israel's refusal to issue an apology for the death of nine activists on board the Mavi Maramara vessel.
According to Turkish media reports, Ankara sent Jerusalem a stern message via the Americans, threatening to severe ties between the two states.
Erdogan mulling 'Plan B'
Turkey's Hurriyet daily newspaper reported on Monday that Ankara had made it clear to friends in Washington that if Jerusalem does not reverse its stance vis-à-vis an apology or compensation to the victims' families, "It would only naturally lead to a further deterioration in bilateral ties."
The report claimed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been mulling a "Plan B" against Israel, in case it refuses to apologize.
Among the options being considered are downgrading Israel's diplomatic rank in Turkey and vice versa, and even suspending all political and economic ties with the Jewish State.
Hurriyet also claimed Erdogan may consider visiting the Gaza Strip and recognizing the Palestinian state at the UN General Assembly next month.
Ban Ki-moon has already postponed the release of the Palmer Report twice in the past, at the behest of Jerusalem and Ankara, which hoped they could settle the ongoing dispute prior to the publication of the report findings.
Last Wednesday, the prime minister announced that Jerusalem will not apologize to Ankara, despite mounting pressure from the United States. Hours after the announcement, Erdogan slammed the decision, saying that Israel must apologize and pay reparations for the deaths of nine activists in order to restore the relations between the former allies.
In a press conference in Istanbul, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said: "If the Palmer Report does not include apologies, both sides and the United States know what we will be forced to do. Israel faces one choice – deeper relations with Turkey, or a deeper gulf, which cannot be bridged easily."
Both countries are worried over the report findings, which might justify Israel's right to defend itself in international waters on the one hand, but also criticize the IDF's excessive use of force against civilians on the other.
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