Turkey's foreign minister issued a menacing warning to Israel Thursday, saying the Jewish state must apologize for a deadly 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound vessel by the time the UN report on the incident is published.
The UN Palmer Report is expected to be released in the coming days, and likely as early as Friday.
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Addressing ongoing delays in releasing the UN report on the lethal IDF raid, Ahmet said, "It is not remotely possible for us to agree to a six-month delay," the Turkish Zaman news website reported.
“For us the deadline (for the formal apology from Israeli officials) is the day the UN report gets released, or we resort to Plan B,” Davutoglu said, but did not elaborate on what the alternate Turkish route would be.
"We are not in a position to tell the UN to release or delay it," the Turkish minister added, referring to the upcoming Palmer Report, "but we will do as necessary when the UN finally does release it."
Netanyahu: No apologies
Last week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that he was postponing the delivery of a UN panel's report on Israel's raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla that killed nine Turkish activists.
He said the reason for the delay was to give the two governments more time to reach a "harmonious agreement" on its findings.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel will not apologize to Turkey over the 2010 flotilla incident, despite an earlier demand by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to do so.
At the time, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said it would be impossible for Turkish-Israeli ties to improve without an apology. Minister Davutoglu also addressed the issue in an earlier news conference, saying that "if the Palmer Report does not contain an apology, both sides and the United States know what we will do."
"Israel is facing a choice: deeper relations with Turkey or open a gap with the Turkish state that will not be overcome very easily," he said.
'Plan B' scenarios
Turkish officials already referred to "Plan B" and possible sanctions against Israel in the past, yet did not detail the measures they may adopt. However, according to information accumulated in Jerusalem, the Turkish plan may include the following steps:
- Downgrading Turkey's diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv
- Rejection of the appointment of a new Israeli ambassador to Turkey
- An Erdogan visit to the Gaza Strip in September
- Full Turkish support for the Palestinian UN statehood bid, coupled with an effort to form a lobby and attempts to isolate Israel at all frameworks
- Granting legal assistance to the families of Turkish fatalities and the filing of lawsuits against Israel, including ones submitted to the International Criminal Court at The Hague
- Terminating the defense cooperation with Israel, a move that would include the annulment of joint exercises and defense industry projects
- Imposition of economic sanctions and the cutting back of investments in Israel. While Israeli businesspeople will be allowed to operate in Turkey, Ankara would refrain from taking steps to promote trade.
- Turkish newspaper Hurriyet recently reported that Ankara may adopt another step: Suspending all political and economic ties between the states. The same threat was voiced last year by Turkey's ambassador to the United States
Attila Somfalvi contributed to the report
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