Ankara rules out high-level visits between Turkey and Israel before conditions are met
Turkish diplomatic sources yesterday denied an Israeli news report suggesting that Turkish leaders had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for an official visit, stressing that Israel must take certain steps to normalize relations before any such high-level visits resume. The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, argued that the news report's headline was misleading, as in fact there has been no change in what Turkey demands that Israel do in order to normalize relations. Turkey is demanding an apology from Israel for a deadly May 31 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla and compensation for the families of the victims. Recently, Turkish officials, including Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, have firmly ruled out suggestions that Turkey has backed down from any of its demands. Last Friday, in Konya to campaign for a constitutional reform package set to face a referendum next month, Davutoglu underlined that Turkey still expects Israel to fulfill the two remaining conditions, as one of the conditions has already been fulfilled by an ongoing UN probe into the raid.