Inicio NOTICIAS Turkey threatens to downgrade ties further unless Israel apologizes for Gaza flotilla raid

Turkey threatens to downgrade ties further unless Israel apologizes for Gaza flotilla raid

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The Turkish government has formulated a back-up plan that it has theratened to execute in the event Israel refuses to apologize for the commando raid that killed nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Gaza-bound ship Mavi Marmara in May 2010.
This plan includes further downgrading relations with Israel which are already on shaky grounds, according to a report on Monday in the Turkish paper Hurriyet Daily News.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan unveiled the plan on Saturday at a press conference with his Jordanian counterpart Marouf Bakhit. The Turkish newspaper reported that one of the steps Turkey would take if Israel does not issue and apology is downgrade its diplomatic representation in Tel Aviv.
There has been no Turkish ambassador in Tel Aviv for over a year. The former ambassador, Ahmet Oguz Celikkol, asked to leave Israel in April 2010 after a humiliating meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon. The Turkish foreign ministry appointed diplomat Kerim Uras as a replacement, but his posting was delayed following the flotilla events in May 2010.
Turkey has been represented in Israel only by its deputy ambassador since then, but he also recently left the country after three years of service.
According to Hurriyet, if Israel does not issue an apology, the deputy ambassador will not be replaced, which would reduce Turkey’s diplomatic representation to a second secretary-level.
The newspaper quoted Turkish diplomats as saying that Ankara is still hopeful that Israel will apologize. Therefore, deputy ambassador Kerim Uras’s title is still in effect and he has not been appointed to a different post. Uras would be sent back to Tel Aviv once relations are normalized, the report said.
Downgrading diplomatic representation in Israel would also affect the appointment of a new Israeli ambassador in Ankara. Israel is concerned that if the current state of relations between the two countries continues, Turkey will refuse to accept the new ambassador.
Another part of Erdogan’s back-up plan is a personal visit to Gaza, the report added. Last week Erdogan postponed the trip in the hopes that Israel would apologize. The Turkish government is also considering other diplomatic and legal steps against Israel, but will decide on them only after the UN investigation into the flotilla events is published.
On Monday, The UN postponed the report’s release in order to allow Israel and Turkey to continue negotiating toward a detente and improved relations.

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