Israel prime minister says a deadly strike on a Turkish-backed Flotilla, which was heading for Gaza, was a move in line with “standards” and rejects the prospects of any apology to Turkey.
"We will not apologise, but express our regrets to Turkey," Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with private television network Channel 10. “…our soldiers acted in accordance with standards," he stated.
On May 31, Israeli commandos violently attacked the aid-laden relief mission, known as Freedom Flotilla, which had set sail for the Gaza Strip, killing nine Turkish activists and injuring around 50 others.
Being apologetic, he stressed, equaled accepting responsibility.
On Sunday, Israel’s far-right Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman also said Tel Aviv would never offer any apology.
But Israeli prime minister’s office later issued a statement saying Lieberman’s position did not represent Israel.
Lieberman’s comments represent his personal political positions, just as Israeli ministers have different positions from each other, the statement said.
On Saturday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu repeated Ankara’s demands of apology and compensation over the attack, saying that “nothing can cover up” the deadly act of aggression.
Thousands in Turkey welcomed the return of the lead vessel of the fleet, Mavi Marmara at the port of Sarayburnu in Istanbul in northwestern Turkey on Sunday.
Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Aid, also known as IHH — the Turkish rights group which organized the Flotilla — said the ship will be part of a new fleet, which will leave for Gaza on May 31, 2011, AFP reported.