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Should Israel Apologize to Turkey?

U.N. flotilla report delayed again so that negotiations can continue

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The Mavi Marmara off the Israeli coast last May.(David Buimovitch/AFP/Getty Images)

The United Nations’ official probe into last summer’s Gaza flotilla has had its release postponed again, to August 20 and at Israel’s request, in order to buy yet more time for Israel and Turkey to negotiate a diplomatic rapprochement. Early word on the so-called Palmer Report was that it would be surprisingly favorable to Israel: lamenting the loss of life and charging Israel with using excessive force, but not calling for an apology, reaffirming the Gaza blockade’s legality, and placing some of the blame on Turkey. Overall, a pretty big win for Israel, especially when you consider the venue. Meanwhile, Israel and Turkey’s common interests as non-Arab countries in the midst of the Arab Spring—and specifically as two countries that border the basket case known as Syria—was seen to draw them closer, so that the sole hurdle to a nice photo-op between Prime Ministers Netanyahu and Erdogan was finding a way to say sorry in Turkish but not in Hebrew (no, really). Yet yesterday, following earlier reports that Israel’s cabinet would vote on whether to apologize in exchange for reconciliation, Netanyahu apparently pulled the plug. “It is unclear whether the delay of the discussion is a result of a progress in talks with Turkey or the consequence of a setback,” reports Haaretz.

It is likewise unclear whether Turkey’s Erdogan is making serious threats or merely posturing when he insists on an apology. If Erdogan holds fast to this demand, he has sticks at his disposal: He could further downgrade diplomatic ties, and he has even made noises about attempting to visit Gaza, which is not a spectacle Israel wants. On the other hand, if Erdogan refuses to play ball, he would be denying himself the carrot of a U.N. report less harsh on Turkey than the current one. The implication of Israel’s request to delay the release of a favorable report, after all, is that Israel would be willing to make that report less favorable in exchange for a deal.

Which is why I must (sigh) agree with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and others and oppose this apology. There is the principled reason: an apology undercuts the blockade and Israel’s soldiers ability to act in self-defense. And there are realpolitik reasons: an apology proves that bullying works, and that Turkey has the power and can dictate the terms of whatever new Turkish-Israeli alliance results. By contrast, the Syria situation as well as the U.N. report reveal that Turkey needs Israel as much as the other way around. “So what should Israel do?” asks Amir Mizroch, former executive editor of The Jerusalem Post. “Fuck’em. Seriously. Apologizing would be a massive, historic capitulation we’ll end up paying for on a much larger scale.” I don’t share his hyperbole, but the sentiment makes sense.

U.N. Report on Gaza Flotilla Delayed Due to Israel Request to Continue Turkish Talks [Haaretz]
Turkish PM Insists Israel Must Apologize If It Wants to Repair Ties [AP/WP]
Apologizing to Turkey Would Undermine Israel’s Interests Twice Over [Contentions]
Earlier: Israel Enjoys Victory With Gaza Flotilla Probe
‘I’m Semi-Sorry’
Have Israel and Turkey Reached Détente?

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Hershel (Heshy) Ginsburg says:

The messiah must be on his way. MT actually agreed with Avigdor Lieberman.

Truth is that there is zero chance that Israeli – Turkish relations will be restored to what they were before the rise of the AKP. The AKP leadership is all rabidly Islamist and they IHH of Mavi Marmarra fame, did what they did at the quiet behest of the Turkish gov’t. In other words even before the events of Flotilla 1 actually transpired, Erdogan was looking to clash with Israel.

But there is an upside to this mess. Israel’s relations with Greece have been steadily improving of late, especially in the past year and a half or so. Many Israeli tourists that in the past would have visited Turkey are going to Greece instead with the number of Israeli tourists there having risen from less than 100,000 per year to over 400,000 per year. And Israeli fighter-bombers can now practice in the skies over Greece.

What’s also interesting here is that the no-apology policy opinion cuts across the political spectrum. It’s very much NOT a right vs. left issue.


Efrata / J’lem

Jason says:

Agree with the above commenter. I’m solidly left-wing and critical of Israel when she deserves criticism, but here Israel has nothing to apologize for. Turkey, one of the most anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli countries, on the planet should apologize to Israel for the stupid publicity stunt it’s using to distract the world from its own long list of crimes against humanity. Israel has every reason to enforce a blockade. And Turkey might want to apologize itself, for the million Armenians it butchered in WW1.

Yael Taubman says:

If anything, Turkey should apologize to Israel.
what a bunch of bull. I am so sick of the upside
down information the Muslim world is putting out.
And even more disgusted by the left that eats anything anyone puts in front of them. Get yourselves and education. A real one. Read the HISTORY not from books, but from minutes of
meetings from 1917 through 1948 and find out the TRUTH. OMG! I am sick sick sick sick sick of the crap.

michael says:

I think Israel has to chage its political decision making, Mark Regev the Israeli spokes person once stated at an interview with BBC over the flotilla issue “because they doesnt like us” and that was ment for the most of the world. the politians must usk themselves ok. they dont like us but why? and how can we make them love us? Its that easy!! I must state, the world doesnt hate Israel, they just hate the harsh and ignorant politics of the israeli government. I have jew friends and I dont have problems with them but I cannot say the same thing for the politics of the israeli government. How long can you go on while ignoring?
Peace to all

B”H Should a diplomat understand how many times I’m sorry can be said in the length, of say a twenty minute conversation with a friend, for telling him something he may not have preffered to know about himself? We hurt one another sometimes on purpose but even so we can apologize that my behaviors has been distruptive; even nothing less than a side effect over one I caused pain. The behavior of the Israeli army caused pain and death – I was traumatized seeing this conduct and apologize as a individual whose government misrepresented my ideal of justice and wish it could be forgotten and shall pray to that effect, blie neder.

Mert says:

I’ll just comment on the comments made. First commander, Greece is already a property of global powers, they give up, they are no more independent.Surely, Israel would be first to go get a piece of that cake.
AKP dislike Israel governments policies not the people. We are the only nation that helped Jews in every time they needed. Check history. We have no problem with israel being close to greece. We can be close to iran. but this is not the issue. What happened is wrong and israel must give an apology.

Second commentor,

You can check government archives of Russia,Britain,Turkey,Armenia(they dont let you), Ottoman Empire. You will realize the genocide saying is just to have political upper hand. I am not sure if you are aware of how global media works. Turkey isnt the thing you say, i’ll tell you what it is. Only country on earth whom has %100 acceptance to other religions.(dont give me examples of killed saints and stuff, dont you know there are powers that tries to show you as something you are not.) Our culture is peace culture, when we have no chance we’ll fight to death without hesitance. We love all human cause of creator, we have problem with some governments cause Turkish government thinks they are doing something wrong.

third commentor,

What you see that old armenian womans crying about killings and stuff we have it on Turkish side aswell, Turkish old woman whom experienced same things. I tell you what happened summary way. Armenian people betrayed government and helped russians and rise aganist government. They ganged up to kill Turkish man woman children and rape and torture. What should other Turkish citizens do? Let them have their way after betraying us in our own land? Get realist and productive. Hatred would only hurt you, as yourself said you are getting sick. Both sides have lost something there no genocide by Turkish side but cant say same about Armenia. Keep researching, dont be used by mass media. Knowing Truth Will Open Your Eyes!

Audrey Meridienne says:

Funny. Bullying? Israel bullies the entire world day and night, and yet the Jewish controlled media tries to turn the table around. Good game play Marc Tracy. Turkey couldn’t care less about Israel’s apology, they simply say that they will severe ties if they don’t, that’s all. It’s Israel that is worried about losing a major ally, a regional power, furthermore.

UN release is due to Jewish and American (indirectly Jewish again, thanks to Jewish lobbies in the US) bullying as well.

Get your facts straight, try to resist the bullying and write a neutral article next time.

Marek Boudain says:

Again, the floatilla was an international humanitarian mission, the ships were filled with tens of different nationalities from all over Europe and the world, there were even MPs from Europe in them. Those that were killed were Turks but that doesn’t change the reality of the common cause that gathered tens of different nationalities together.

There was an international outcry after the attack, everybody sided with Turkey and the people on the ships, nobody sympathized with Israel except the parent of the spoiled child – the United States government (not the American people, just the government that is under the threat of the Jewish lobbies).

Trying to change facts and make it look different is a gross attempt that is commonly resorted to by the Israelis, not surprising. But majority of the people do remember what took place.

Who cares about what Marc Tracy’s stolen pen sides with? If he was not to side with Israel, this article either wouldn’t exist to begin with, or it would not get published. It is a cooked-to-order article. Good job, there is always the dumb population that will fall for it.

Dianne says:

Ridiculous article, nothing to do with reality, put together to justify the crimes of Israel.. yet again.. and published in the media controlled by the Jews.

what a pathetic situation for justice. justice is what needed right now and not the influence of powerful lobbies which put forward what they wish as justice. truth should be manifested in crystal clear way so that justice would prevail as justice or else it would be nothing but a catalyst for hatred among communities. end result of such petty gains would be a tremendous loss of harmony in humanity.

John Q Public from the West says:

Yeah..the blockade is totally legal.

Can’t have those Gazans having chocolate. I hear they are excellent at making chocolate bombs.

You ‘lefties’ keep supporting fascist policies. The rest of the world will feel more comfortable supporting Palestinian statehood and sanctions against Israel.

Utter nonsense and moral prevaricating from Israelis who apparently only consider other Israeli life worth saving. Had this been a Turkish raid on an Israeli boat, what would have been the result?

we’ve got different jewelry boxes at home and most proceeds from my mother that like to pick up jewelry boxes.,

Much salutations and should come for your further revisions.

Michael says:

“Audrey Meridienne” is Turkish. google her name and one gets antisemitc and pro Turkish Islamist comments on the web. She is an example of growing antisemitism in Turkey and racists against Kurds, Greeks, Aremenians, Cypriots and Jews. Turkey sick xenophobia is not Israel or anyone else s fault.


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Should Israel Apologize to Turkey?

U.N. flotilla report delayed again so that negotiations can continue

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