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Turkey issues apology ultimatum to Israel

by Marcy Oster, JTA

September 1, 2011 | 9:39 am

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Photo by REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Photo by REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori

Turkey’s foreign minister gave Israel one day to apologize for its 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla ship or the country would “resort to Plan B.”

Ahmet Davutoglu said he would not agree to any more delays in the release of the United Nations-authored Palmer Report investigating Israel’s raid on the Mavi Marmara ship in May 2010, which led to the deaths of nine Turkish citizens, including a dual Turkish-American citizen.

The report, which originally was scheduled to be released in February, is now set to be released Friday after several agreed-upon delays in an attempt to solve the diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey.

“It is not remotely possible for us to agree to a six-month delay,” Davutoglu said Thursday during a visit to Sarajevo, Today’s Zaman reported. “For us the [apology] deadline is the day the U.N. report gets released, or we resort to Plan B.” He did not say what Plan B would be, according to the newspaper.

“We waited patiently for Israel to come to a decision, but it looks like the country is having a hard time arriving at one,” the foreign minister said, adding that “Turkey will be imposing sanctions that are well known by Israel and some other international parties.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month in a telephone conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton turned down an Obama administration request to apologize to Turkey. Israel has offered its “regret.”

The Palmer Report, according to advance copies given to the two countries, reportedly will vindicate Israel for blockading the Gaza Strip.

Relations between Israel and Turkey had begun to deteriorate even before the flotilla incident, beginning with the monthlong Gaza war that began in late December 2008.

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