John Kerry tagged team with Obama to extract a humiliating apology from Israel over the deaths of Turks who violently attacked Israeli soldiers lawfully boarding a ship breaking the lawful Gaza military blockade.
The Turks and others in the Muslim world took the apology as a sign of Israeli weakness and a victory.
The Turks then quickly backed out of the deal to normalize relations, which the apology was supposed to accomplish.
Kerry is back in Turkey trying to hold the Turks to their promise, but the Turks are demanding that Israel jump even higher.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed Turkey and Israel on Sunday to move forward with a diplomatic rapprochement brokered by President Barack Obama last month, which the U.S. views as central to promoting stability in Middle East hot spots like Syria and the Palestinian territories.
But Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu responded by publicly outlining further steps Israel needed to take in order to restore full diplomatic ties, including a complete lifting of the economic embargoes imposed on Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip.
American officials are worried the Turkish diplomat’s position could lead Ankara to stall in normalizing relations with the Jewish state and provide Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with an issue to continue attacking Israel’s policies in the region. Mr. Erdogan has said he plans to visit the Gaza Strip in May….
During the phone call, Mr. Netanyahu complied with a long-standing Turkish demand by apologizing for the attack and pledging to provide financial compensation to the families of those who died in the raid. A team of Israeli negotiators are expected in Turkey this month to try to set the size and terms of the settlement.
Still, Turkey’s demand Sunday that Israel lift all limitations on travel and trade on the Gaza Strip risked emerging as an open-ended issue that could cloud Turkish-Israeli relations for the indefinite future. Any visit by Mr. Erdogan to Gaza could also strain relations again with Mr. Netanyahu.
Mr. Kerry was careful not to criticize Ankara’s position or to set a timeline for the normalization of Turkish-Israeli ties.
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