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Turkey admits contact with Israel over Gaza conflict

Turkey had previously decided to freeze diplomatic relations with Israel.

Palestinian schoolgirls wave Palestinian flags during a rally supporting the Palestinian UN bid for observer state status, in the West Bank city of Ramallah today
Palestinian schoolgirls wave Palestinian flags during a rally supporting the Palestinian UN bid for observer state status, in the West Bank city of Ramallah today
Image: AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi

FOREIGN MINISTER AHMET Davutoglu has admitted that Turkey had resumed contacts with Israel to try to bring an end to the hostilities in Gaza, despite its decision to freeze diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

“In the Gaza process, it’s true, Israel held discussions with Turkey through foreign ministry and secret service channels,” Davutoglu said in a televised interview, quoted by the Anatolia news agency.

If it means preventing blood from flowing, if war conditions are met, we meet everyone. There is nothing wrong with that.

He was referring to the eight-day confrontation between Israel and Gaza militants that claimed the lives of 166 Palestinians and six Israelis.

Davutoglu said however that the contact did not mean the countries had resumed relations, which were broken after Israeli commandos raided a Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla in the Mediterranean in 2010, killing nine Turks on board.

“From the Turkish point of view, these kinds of meetings and sometimes the transmission of various messages through intermediaries do not constitute dialogue with Israel,” Davutoglu said.

He added that for the countries to resume dialogue, Israel would have to accept the terms issued by Ankara following the raid on the flotilla: an apology and compensation.

Israel has hitherto rejected the conditions, with the foreign ministry denouncing Turkey earlier this month for carrying out what it called a “show trial” of four top former Israeli commanders over the raid.

- © AFP, 2012

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