A delegation representing an influential Turkish sheikh arrived Monday in Israel to meet with Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Army Radio reported. They offered to open dialogue between religious channels in order to resolve the dispute between the two countries.
The Turkish envoys arrived in Jerusalem on behalf of Sheikh Adnan Aoktr, who is considered close to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Accompanied by the Jewish community Rabbi in Turkey, Abraham Haim, they met with Yishai, and sought to resume political dialogue between the two countries through the inter-religious channel that bypasses other divisions. The emissaries even invited Yishai to visit Turkey.
Army Radio reported that Yishai did not reply negatively to the request, but said that he supports discourse with Turkey and appreciates the strategic alliance and bilateral cooperation. Yishai voiced support for the IDF soldiers that boarded Mavi Marmara last year, and said that in internal discussions he had objected to apologizing to the Turks. He said that he had also inquired whether he would be asked to apologize on behalf of the Israeli government during his potential visit to Ankara.
In response, his office said "The interior minister attaches importance to relations with Turkey while upholding Israeli principles. If Yishai did visit Turkey, he would do it would in coordination with the prime minister and other relevant elements."
In the meantime Erdogan continued to attack Israel, and said Monday that the Turkish Navy "is ready for the worst case scenario." In an interview with an Egyptian newspaper, Erdogan said that the Palmer Report was "worthless," and noted that the publisher was not objective.