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World

Turkey backs off threats to sever ties with Israel

Despite media reports that Turkey would cut diplomatic ties without an Israeli apology over a raid on an aid flotilla to Gaza, the Turkish government has taken a slightly softer tone with an unapologetic Israel.

A Turkish flag and an Israeli flag

A rift has developed between Turkey and Israel since the incident

The Turkish government has downplayed reported comments from Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu that Ankara would cut diplomatic ties with Israel unless it apologized for a deadly raid on an aid flotilla on May 31.

Two Turkish newspapers had quoted Davutoglu as saying ties with Israel would be severed unless Turkey received an apology for the flotilla raid or Israel accepted the outcome of an independent inquiry into the incident.

In response to Davutoglu's alleged remarks, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said during a trip to Latvia that Israel didn't "have any intention to apologize."

Later on Monday, however, a spokesman for the Turkish government told the Reuters news agency that Davutoglu had been misquoted in the newspaper reports. The official claimed that Davutoglu actually said that relations with Israel would not improve if an apology was not issued.

The two countries have been on bad terms since the May 31 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. Nine Turkish nationals died after Israeli military personnel boarded one of the ships. Each side subsequently blamed the other for starting the violent confrontation.

Author: Matt Zuvela (Reuters, AP)
Editor: Chuck Penfold

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