Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks during a news conference in Istanbul June 22, 2010
The rare upbeat assessment was issued by Cinar Oskay, of the Milliyet daily, hours after Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had been quoted in Turkish media on Monday warning that Ankara would sever ties with Israel altogether if no Israeli apology was forthcoming for last month’s fatal flotilla raid, or if Israel did not accept the findings of an international investigation into the incident.
Turkish officials subsequently claimed the minister had been misrepresented, telling Reuters that he had not threatened to sever ties, but had said relations would not improve unless Turkey’s demands were met.
“Our two countries will definitely be reconciled,” Oskay said, “because it is in both countries’ interests to make up… There is no risk that the rift will be continued for a long time.”
He described Turkey’s demands of Israel over the flotilla as “symbolic” and “not an obstacle that can’t be overcome.
“I don’t think it will get worse,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party were ultimately “pragmatic” and predicting that Israel would “soften a little” to help alleviate the crisis in relations.
Oskay, making a first visit to Israel, took pains to stress that “a lot of people” in Turkey are as troubled by Erdogan’s positions as Israel is, and that “Turkey is not homogeneous...”
He noted, incidentally, that he had been struck by “how many religious people there are” in Jerusalem – by which he meant haredi Jerusalemites – and said there was “nowhere” like that in Turkey.
“I want people to understand: Turkey is not Erdogan,” he said.
Oskay’s Milliyet, indeed, is part of the pro-secularist Dogan media group, whose newspapers have been among the Erdogan government’s fiercest critics.