in a raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship.
“We have not agreed to this. We don’t think Israel should take part in such a forum,” a senior Turkish official said on Monday. “NATO is an alliance to which Israel does not belong,” he added.
“There will be no Israeli presence at the NATO meeting unless they issue a formal apology and pay compensation for the Turkish citizens their commandos killed in international waters,” Turkish press quoted another senior Turkish official as saying earlier.
The rejection of Israel’s attendance at the NATO’s upcoming meeting in the US city of Chicago on May 20 was brought up by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutolu during the coalition’s meeting in Brussels last week.
“Turkey cannot consider as a partner a country that has killed Turkish citizens in international waters,” Said Davutoglu in the meeting.
Relation between Ankara and Tel Aviv were severely strained after the killing of nine Turkish activists in a violent assault by Israeli commandos on the Turkish ferry, the Mavi Marmara, which was part of the Free Gaza flotilla trying to break Israel’s now 5-year siege on the impoverished Gaza Strip in May 2010.
Turkey demanded an apology from the Tel Aviv regime, but Israel adamantly refused to apologize. Ankara broke off diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv, expelled the Israeli ambassador and froze military cooperation with Israel.
NATO chief Anders Rasmussen told the EU Parliament’s foreign affairs committee in Brussels that “we have not considered to invite Israel to participate.”