Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told local media that Israel a number of months ago sent ‘the world’s richest Jew’ to broker a deal towards renewed diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey. He added that he has been under pressure from President Putin of Russia, British PM Cameron and the United States to mend fences with Israel.
Erdogan adds that his position remains the same, and in order to restore relations, Israel must first apologize for the Mavi Marmara operation of 2010 that left 9 Turkish nationals dead and pay compensatory damages to the families.
The Turkish Yeni Safak newspaper reported that Erdogan met with World Zionist Organization Chairman Ronald Lauder, who has maintained a long standing relationship with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (The two had a falling out about two years ago but apparently have worked out their differences). Lauder is a part owner of Israel’s Channel 10 TV.
Lauder is not unfamiliar with such meetings. He was sent as an emissary of the prime minister during Mr. Netanyahu’s first term in office, when Lauder met with Syrian leader Hafez el-Assad. At the time, there was talk of a possible deal that would involve Israeli concessions on the Golan Heights.
Other speculate the emissary was Sheldon Adelson, who is viewed to be the “world’s richest Jew” and owner of the Yisrael HaYom newspaper. On the other hand, Adelson has not been known to act in this capacity in the past.
Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office deny that either of the two was sent to speak with Erdogan.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)