Gul denies Israeli claims that he asked to meet with Peres in New York
President Abdullah Gul yesterday lashed out at Israeli claims that he had proposed to his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres that they meet on the sidelines of the current 65th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. The Israeli administration's motives are hard to understand, said Gul, adding that it was they who asked for a meeting, but later backtracked. "In response we said whatever you say, but the Israeli side told the media that they had turned down Turkey's request for a meeting," Gul said, adding that he had not had any meeting scheduled with Peres. Stating that later Israeli media reports claimed that he would meet with his Iranian counterpart but declined to meet with Peres, Gul denied this, saying, "I don't understand this mentality … They should calm down and think about what they're doing." The Clinton Foundation, run by former President Bill Clinton, also planned to bring the two leaders together on a panel, said Gul, adding that this was only a plan and he would have declined the invitation in any case. On Israel's aid flotilla raid in May, which left nine Turkish peace activists dead, Gul said, "There is an incident still open, but the Israelis seem to still be unaware of this. They should think about how Turkish-Israeli ties got to this point and how this could be overcome. We're not content with the current situation of our ties with Israel, but we didn't cause this situation." Israel must accept its fault, apologize, and pay compensation to the raid victims, and then the countries can talk about normalizing ties, Gul said. The Foreign Ministry and Presidential Press Office also released statements denying the Israeli claims.