Asia leaders in Turkey condemns Israel, backs intl probe

Asia leaders, except Israel, condemned the attack on Gaza-bound aid convoy, calling on Israel to end its inhuman blockade of the Palestinian territory.

Asia leaders in Turkey condemns Israel, backs intl probe

The Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) on Tuesday, said that all member countries, except Israel, condemned the Israeli attack on Gaza-bound aid convoy, calling on Israel to end its inhuman blockade of the Palestinian territory for the sake of regional peace and security.

In a diplomatic coup for Turkey, all members of CICA except Israel itself denounced Israeli raid on the international convoy that was carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza in international waters which 9 Turkish Gaza activists were killed.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said, "during the third summit of heads of state and government of CICA, all member countries, except one, expressed their feelings, thoughts and condemnations about Israeli forces' attack on a Turkish ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza and killing of Turkish people."

President Gul said at a news conference at Istanbul's Ciragan Palace, "Turkey has taken over rotating presidency of the CICA which became a 22-member organization after joining of Iraq and Vietnam. CICA decisions are made unanimously. "

"During the summit, all member countries, except one, expressed their feelings, thoughts and condemnations about Israeli forces' attack on a Turkish ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza and killing of Turkish people. Under the rules of the organization, all decisions should be made unanimously. Therefore, I made a statement as the Turkish Chairmanship. This is the view of member countries except one," he added.

"For first time"

Gul said, "unfortunately, we witnessed killing of Turks many times by terrorist organizations such as ASALA, PKK and al-Qaeda or by criminal organizations. For the first time since the World War I, army and soldiers of a country made such a mistake. Therefore, we cannot forgive it."

Asked whether a lawsuit would be filed against Israel for compensation to relatives of victims, President Gul said, "all measures will be taken both on international and bilateral levels."

"Unfortunately, we witnessed killing of Turks many times by terrorist organizations such as ASALA, PKK and al-Qaeda or by criminal organizations. For the first time since the World War I, army and soldiers of a country made such a mistake. Therefore, we cannot forgive it," he said.

"As the president, I advise everyone not to use this incident as tool for domestic politics. This is a national cause," he said.

Replying to a question about news reports in some western newspapers claiming that Turkey could close down some institutions enabling Israel to watch Iran, President Gul said that those reports were nothing but exaggeration.

"Backing for intl probe"

Turkish chairmanship said that all member countries, except Israel, supported the idea of establishing an independent international committee by the United Nations Secretary General to investigate Israel's attack on ships.

In the statement, Turkish Chairmanship of the CICA also said that member countries, except Israel, made a call to make the Middle East a region without nuclear weapons.

A great majority of member countries called on Israel to withdraw from territories it has occupied since 1967 and demanded the establishment of an independent Palestine whose capital would be Eastern Jerusalem, the statement also said.

Israel had sent its "ambassador" to the talks.

Syria's Assad, whose country is not a CICA member but was attending as a guest, said "Turkish blood is not different from Arab blood", while Ahmadinejad accused Israel of going beyond all boundaries in its disrespect for humanity.

Turkey, NATO's only Muslim member and a candidate to join the European Union, has sought to raise its international profile in recent years, mediating on issues ranging from ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan to Iran's nuclear programme.

Its members include: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Palestine, Republic of Korea, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan.

On Wednesday, Arab League foreign ministers are due to meet in Istanbul for talks with their Turkish counterpart.

Agencies

Last Mod: 09 Haziran 2010, 11:52
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