Turkey says the strain in its diplomatic ties with Israel will not heal unless it formally apologizes for the killing of Turkish nationals aboard a Gaza aid convoy.
Nine Turkish citizens, including a Turkish-American teenager, were killed in the May 31 attack by Israeli navy commandos on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla while the civilian aid convoy was in international waters.
The move drew strong condemnation from the international community and prompted several countries to summon Israeli ambassadors while an enraged Turkey recalled its envoy from Tel Aviv.
Ankara will not appoint a new ambassador to Israel unless the Israeli government formally apologizes for the death of the Turkish citizens, The New York Times quoted a senior official in Turkey’s Foreign Ministry as saying on Tuesday.
The Turkish government is also demanding compensation for the relatives of the Flotilla attack victims and an independent commission to investigate Israel’s use of violence against the fleet which tried to break the Israel blockade of Gaza.
In an interview to American television on Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Israel must apologize for its blockade of the Gaza Strip as well as compensate the people of Gaza as a precondition for Ankara to mediate possible peace talks between Israel and Syria in the future.