Erdogan: Turkey ‘must accept that it needs Israel’

Amid conflicting reports on the negotiations between Turkey and Israel, Turkish president Erdogan has again indicated that he seeks a warming of ties with the Jewish State.

By: World Israel Staff

Turkish President Turkish President has again said he seeks a warming of relations with Israel and that his country must accept “that it needs Israel.”

“Israel is in need of a country like Turkey in the region,” Erdogan said in remarks to Turkish reporters published in leading dailies Saturday, AFP reported. “And we too must accept that we need Israel. This is a reality in the region,” said Erdogan. “If mutual steps are implemented based on sincerity, then normalization will follow.”

Similarly, he said in mid December that “there is so much the region could gain from such a normalization process.”

Reports on negotiations between Ankara and Jerusalem on the reestablishing of diplomatic ties between the two countries have been resurfacing over the past weeks, with both sides issuing contradicting reports of progress or setbacks in the negotiations.

Turkey demands Israeli financial compensation for the families of the ten Turkish citizens killed in the Marmara raid and the lifting of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, which Israel cannot accept.

In return, Turkey would drop criminal charges against senior Israeli officers.

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Israel initially cautiously welcomed Erdogan’s signaling, saying it was up to him to finalize the issue and agree to reasonable terms.

Relations between former allies Turkey and Israel broke down in 2010 after the Mavi Marmara incident.

The Mavi Marmara was part of a flotilla of vessels sailling to the Gaza Strip, ostensibly to deliver humanitarian aid and medical supplies, but in reality was nothing more than an attempt to defy Israel’s sovereignty and to support the Palestinian Hamas terror organization, which rules Gaza. The only humanitarian aid found on board were a few boxes of expired medications.

IDF forces boarded the ship and were viciously assaulted. In defense, they killed 10 Turkish nationals and several of the IDF soldiers suffered wounds as well.

Turkey has become the strongest critic of Israeli actions in Gaza, often marked by anti-Semitism. Reconciliation efforts between the two countries have repeatedly failed. Even an Israeli attempt to apologize to Turkey was rebuffed.