Turkey reveals details of covert meeting with Israel

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Turkey reveals details of covert meeting with Israel

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Turkey has told Israel what it must do to mend ties damaged after the recent storming of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

Turkey says Israel must apologise, pay compensation, agree to a UN inquiry and lift its blockade of Gaza.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told parliament he had conveyed these demands face-to-face during a covert meeting with Israel’s Trade Minister in Brussels.

Benjamin Ben-Eliezer is known as a friend of Turkey. He was the first minister to visit Ankara last year after the friendship frayed over Gaza.

Turkey and Israel had forged a friendship in the 1990’s, based largely on military cooperation and intelligence sharing, although trade was also important.

Last week’s unofficial meeting provoked a major row between the Israeli Foreign Ministry and the office of the Prime Minister, who had not passed on details of the encounter.

A statement put this down to a “technical” reason. There is strong anti-Israeli feeling in Turkey, evidenced by large public protests.

Turkey has improved relations with neighbours like Iran and Syria in recent years and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has championed the Palestinian cause.