Foreign Ministry officials said Saturday that Israel would not apologize to Turkey for the deaths of nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists who were killed during the Israel Navy's raid on the Turkish-flagged 'Freedom Flotilla' ship earlier this week.

A top official in the Foreign Ministry, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the Turkish demand for an official apology was mainly an excuse to allow Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's to cut diplomatic ties with Israel.

The foreign ministry officials said that they were surprised by the request for an apology which came from Turkey's Ambassador to Washington Namik Tan, as the demand was not relayed through any other diplomatic channels.

Tan, who was Turkey's ambassador to Israel before his U.S. appointment, was known to be a supporter of Israel, the officials said.

"If he is speaking like this it is probably an official order he received from top officials in the Turkish government," an official said. "It seems that the deterioration is continuing and a complete cut in diplomatic ties is only a matter of time."

Meanwhile, Minister Dan Meridor canceled his participation in an international assembly taking place this week in Istanbul.

The summit, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, is sponsored by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and is focused on increasing security and cooperation in Asia. Meridor canceled his participation due to security concerns in light of the rising anti-Israel sentiment in Turkey. Officials from the Israeli consulate in Istanbul and the Israeli envoy in Ankara will be taking Meridor's place.