Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Netanyahu ends Israel - Turkey dispute, as Ankra accepts Deputy FM's apology

(Ynet).The Foreign Ministry has said it has no plans to apologize for the public humiliation of Turkish Ambassador Ahmet Oguz Celikkol beyond the clarifications already provided, but senior state officials said Wednesday evening that the ministry had sent Ankara an official Israeli apology, following a request made by President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Turkish media reported Wednesday evening that Ambassador Ahmet Oguz Celikkol may be recalled by Ankara, following Turkish President Abdullah Gul's demand that Israel issue an official apology for Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon's treatment of the envoy.

Ayalon wrote in the letter, "Although we have our differences of opinion on several issues, they should be discussed and solved only through open, reciprocal and respectful diplomatic channels between our two governments.

"I had no intention to humiliate you personally and apologize for the way the demarche was handled and perceived. Please convey this to the Turkish people for whom we have great respect."

The letter was handed to the Turkish ambassador in Israel, who sent it to Ankara.

In response, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Turkish Foreign Ministry had received "the expected, desired answer".

But he added more criticism of Israel, telling a news conference: "Israel must put itself in order and it must be more just and more on the side of peace in the region."

The Prime Minister's Office confirmed that Ayalon had sent a letter of apology to Turkey following the humiliation of its ambassador.

The PM's Office said in a statement that "the prime minister coordinated the letter of apology with the foreign minister and hopes this brings the affair to an end. The prime minister's stand throughout the incident was consistent – he backed the protest but had reservations over the way it was done.

"The prime minister once again expressed his concern over the fact that Turkey and Israel are moving apart and has instructed professional elements to prevent the conflict from going on."