At the recent Munich Security Conference, Davutoğlu did not shake hands with Barak, thus rejecting an attempt by US and German officials to break the ice between Turkey and Israel during a dinner hosted by Bavarian Premier Horst Seehofer.
Today’s Zaman According to the seating plan prepared by US and German officials, Davutoğlu sat next to Seehofer and US Vice President Joe Biden, while Barak sat opposite the Turkish minister. When officials sitting in Davutoğlu’s row started to shake hands with the figures sitting opposite them, the Turkish minister immediately stood up and greeted the Macedonian and Croatian presidents. Seeing Davutoğlu not responding to his attempt to shake his hand, Barak said, “As the distance between the two sides of the table is wide, we could not reach each other’s hand.” Davutoğlu replied: “No, the problem is not the size of the table. There will always be a distance between us unless you meet our demands.”
Davutoğlu was referring to Turkey’s demand for an official apology from Israel for a deadly attack on the Mavi Marmara bound for Gaza in May 2010. Among other demands are reparations to be paid to the families of the passengers killed on the boat and the lifting of the blockade on Gaza. Israel’s flotilla attack resulted in the killing of nine Turkish civilians.
Yourish We in Israel are sorry for what occurred in regard to the episode of the Free Gaza Flotilla.
We are sorry that lives were lost because militants on board attacked the Israeli soldiers whom they knew would board and whom they meticulously planned to attack.
We are sorry that soldiers were forced to defend their comrades who were being attacked by supposed peace activists and that some people died.
We are sorry that militants bent on violence were allowed by the Turkish government to board ships which the Turkish government knew aimed to violate Israel’s legal blockade of Gaza, endangering the lives of the hundreds of innocents on board the vessels as well as the soldiers who boarded the vessels legally and expected to meet little resistance from peace activists.
We are sorry that the Turkish government in an act of brinkmanship based in machismo has decided to jeopardize the future security and prosperity of the Turkish people, whose concerns are not well represented by this government, by refusing to admit any fault on the part of the participants in the flotilla, nor of the Turkish government for allowing it to sail, nor of the Turkish government from supporting aggressive action against its long-time ally Israel.
We are sorry that the honorable and freedom loving Turkish people are being manipulated into believing that Israelis–who have long worked in cooperation with Turks in defense of freedom and would love to do so going forward–as opposed to radical Islamists who seek to take their freedom away are the enemies of the Turkish people.
We are sorry that the Turkish government has decided to jeopardize not only its relationship with Israel, but its relationship with NATO, America specifically, and the West in general in support of opening supply routes to Hamas and other terrorist organizations located in Gaza for use against the civilian population in Israel and potentially against the Palestinian Authority.
We are indeed sorry to have to make this apology; these events should never have been allowed to happen.