[QODLink]
Middle East
Israel rules out apology to Turkey
Israeli prime minister says he is prepared to express only "regret" to Turkey for loss of life in Gaza flotilla raid.
Last Modified: 28 Dec 2010 00:11 GMT
Israel's prime minister had rejected comments by his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, ruling out apology [Reuters]

Israel's prime minister has said that his country will not apologise to Turkey for a May commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship that killed nine Turkish activists. 

Binyamin Netanyahu said on Monday that talks to mend ties have so far fallen short.

"They [Turkey] want an apology and we of course do not want to apologise," he said in an interview on Israel's Channel 10 television.

"We are prepared to express regret, as we have, on the loss of life".

"We want one thing: Foremost to protect our soldiers and our commannders ... that there will be Turkish recognition that Israel did not act with malice aforethought and that Israel's soldiers acted in self defence," Netanyahu said.

Breaking the silence

Netanyahu broke his silence after his ultra-nationalist coalition partner, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, poured scorn on Turkey's demand that Israel apologise for the killing of its nine citizens aboard the ship.

"I'm sorry to say a redeeming compromise formula still has not been found. We are continuing to try but public talk on this matter does not help," Netanyahu said.

Israel's relations with Turkey plummeted after Israeli soldiers stormed the Mavi Marmara ship on May 31, part of a convoy attempting to bring supplies to the blockaded Gaza Strip.

Turkey has demanded that Israel formally apologise for the deaths of the activists. Envoys of the two countries met in Geneva earlier this month for rapprochement talks.

High-ranking Israeli and Turkish officials recently held two days of talks in Geneva aimed at mending ties after Turkey sent firefighters to help Israel fight a wildfire earlier this month.

The two countries built strong military and economic ties over the past 15 years, with Turkey becoming Israel's closest ally in the Muslim world.

However, relations soured when Turkey's government began to increasingly criticise Israel's treatment of Palestinians

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.