Report: Peres, Turkey President to Meet on Sidelines of UN Assembly

Meet would be first of its kind between high level government representatives since Israeli raid on Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May.

President Shimon Peres will meet with the president of Turkey in New York, the Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman reported on Friday. The meeting will be the first of its kind between the two countries' high level government representatives since the Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May, during which nine Turkish nationals were killed.

Peres and Turkish President Abdullah Gül will meet on the sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York which will begin on September 23.

The newspaper quoted an unnamed official as saying that Gul will tell Peres that relations between the two countries won't be normalized until Israel apologizes for the flotilla raid and pays monetary compensation to the families of those killed during the ensuing clashes.

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials said in June that Israel would not apologize to Turkey over the raid and that the demand for an official apology was mainly an excuse to allow Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to cut diplomatic ties with Israel.

Turkey recalled their ambassador to Israel after the raid and has said it will not send an ambassador back unless Israel apologizes for the raid and pays the requested compensation. They have also threatened to impose sanctions against Israel.

Though there are no reports of a forthcoming apology from Israel, Gul reportedly said “Foreign ministers can meet with others from the enemy country even in the battlefield.”

Turkey-Israel relations have had several moments where the escalated tensions were eased, including a meeting between Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Though the contents of the meeting were not disclosed, Ben-Eliezer has reiterated the Israeli stance that there will be no apology for the raid because the Israel Navy acted lawfully.