Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Commented Monday on remarks made by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, which suggested that Israel was rapidly becoming isolated in the region, saying the American official was "correct in his assumptions."
Erdogan also concurred with Panetta's statement that "Israel should improve its relations with Turkey."
- Panetta: Israel increasingly isolated in ME
- Erdogan: Israel cannot be trusted
- Obama urges Erdogan to resolve crisis with Israel
Speaking with reporters at Ataturk International Airport prior to his departure for South Africa, Ergodan said that "Israel has chosen isolation by losing a friend like Turkey.
"It is not the people of Israel but the government of Israel that has chosen isolation," foreign news agencies quoted him as saying. "Our statements on Israel do not target the people of Israel or the Jewish citizens of Turkey," he continued. "It is the Israeli government to which we make statements."
Relations between Turkey and Israel hit a historic low after the publication of the UN inquiry into the deadly raid of the Gaza-bound Marmara, which left nine Turks dead.
Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel, and expelled the Israeli ambassador to Ankara, effectively downgrading diplomatic relations between the two nations to second-secretary level.
Turkey demands an official Israeli apology over the incident, as well as restitution to the victims' families and an end to the Gaza blockade. Israel has expressed willingness to pay damages, but remains adamant in its refusal to apology or lift the blockage, which the Palmer Report deemed an acceptable security measure.
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