Lieberman's Aides: Apologizing to Turkey Means Surrendering to Terror

Officials close to the foreign minister slam Netanyahu's push for an agreement with Turkey that would end the diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have entered a spat Tuesday over Israel's recent contacts with Turkey which aim to end the diplomatic crisis between the two countries.

Lieberman's aides slammed Netanyahu's endeavor with Turkey in which Israel is expected to apologize for the events of the Gaza flotilla. "Apologizing to Turkey means surrendering to terror," they said.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Archive / Tess Scheflan

Officials close to Lieberman completely rejected the proposal that Israel apologize to Turkey for the Gaza flotilla in exchange for "normalizing" their ties, and demanded that Turkey apologize to Israel instead.

"Israel needs to demand that Turkey apologize and that Turkey compensate Israel for the aid it gave the group of terrorists and the IHH organization who organized the Gaza flotilla, an organization that even European countries define as a terrorist group."

This harsh criticism of Netanyahu on the part of Lieberman's aides has brought the tensions between the two ministers to an unprecedented peak. Lieberman's opposition to Israel's contacts with Turkey could thwart them, or on the other hand bring about a serious coalition crisis.

Netanyahu's office refused to respond to the comments made by Lieberman's aides.

Meanwhile, the discussions between Israeli and Turkish officials in Geneva are continuing, and a senior Israeli official has said that the focus of the deliberations is the particular wording of the Israeli apology for the IDF raid on the Gaza-bound ship the Mavi Marmara, which killed nine Turkish citizens.

"We are looking for wording that would clarify that during the overtaking of the Gaza flotilla, Israel did not act out of malice," said the Israeli official.

An Israeli source close to the talks said that the discussions are at a particularly sensitive place at the moment, wherein the two sides need to present their ideas to prime ministers Benjamin Netanyahu and Recep Tayyip Erdogan to receive further instructions.