Netanyahu Envoy Involved in Reconciliation Talks with Turkey

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tasked Vice Premier and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon to reconcile with Turkey, Israeli media revealed on Friday.

Yaalon held talks with two high-ranking officials in the Turkish foreign ministry, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and Channel 2 television network unveiled.

However, exposing this issue irritated Turkey that explained that these meetings are to agree on a way for Israel to apologize on the Gaza flotilla massacre, Channel 2 reported.

Nine people, mainly Turkish nationals, were killed when Israeli forces boarded the “Mavi Marmara” flotilla and its accompanying convoy in international waters on May 31 last year.

Haaretz reported that Israeli and Turkish officials have been holding secret direct talks to try to solve the diplomatic crisis between the two countries. However, Turkey considers a clear Israeli apology as a main condition to solve the crisis.

Ankara stressed that any other solution will not lead to an agreement with the Israel.

Yaalon is managing the Turkish contacts, along with the Israeli representative on the U.N. inquiry committee on last year's Gaza flotilla, Yosef Ciechanover.

A week ago a secret meeting was held in Geneva between Yaalon and Ciechanover from the Israeli side and Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu and Turkey's representative on the U.N. inquiry committee, Ozdem Sanberk from the other side.

Meanwhile, Haaretz reported that the meetings are taking place through two different channels, while the Israeli television linked the meetings.

The first is through Yaalon who is meeting directly with Sinirlioglu, a firm supporter of rehabilitating ties with Israel.

The other talks are taking place between Ciechanover and Sanberk.

The Israeli media said that Netanyahu’s government is maintaining its position of refusing to apologize to Turkey over the deadly raid, but is ready to express regret over the incident.

Setting off a new dispute, About 10 boats are to take part in a new flotilla which is set to leave in the middle of the upcoming week.

A group of pro-Palestinian activists, led by several Turkish groups, have said they plan to sail to Gaza, mainly from Greek ports, in a repeat of the mission violently halted on May 31 last year.

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