The FINANCIAL — ANKARA. Turkey has said it may break diplomatic relations with Israel because of Tel Aviv's refusal to apologize for its deadly attack on a Gaza-bound humanitarian convoy, Turkey's Hurriyet daily said, according to RIA Novosti.
"The Israelis have three options: they will either apologize or acknowledge an international-impartial inquiry and its conclusion. Otherwise, our diplomatic ties will be cut off," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the paper on July 4.
The statement comes a week after Davutoglu and Israeli Trade Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer discussed the attack on the Freedom Flotilla during a "secret meeting" in Brussels, with Davutoglu repeating Ankara's call for Tel Aviv to apologize for the attack.
Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish vessel in neutral waters off the Gaza coast, killing 9 people and inuring dozens. Eight of those killed were Turks. The ninth person killed was a U.S. citizen of Turkish descent. Following the raid, large-scale anti-Israeli protests took place in Istanbul and Ankara, with Turkey recalling its ambassador from Tel Aviv and closing its airspace for Israeli military planes.
"We showed them an exit. If they apologize as a result of their own investigation's conclusion, that would be fine for us. But of course we first have to see this," Davutoglu said.
Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would neither apologize nor pay compensation to the relatives of the victims.
In such a case, Davutoglu told Hurriyet, ties between the two countries "will never be repaired" and the "process of isolation will continue."
Israel began an investigation of the attack on the Freedom Flotilla in late June. The country has rejected numerous calls to set up an international inquiry into the raid, but has invited Northern Irish Nobel Prize laureate David Trimble and the former Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Forces, Ken Watkin, to monitor the Israeli investigation committee's activities.
The Israeli military have also been ordered to conduct separate probes into the raid.