Davutoglu: Turkish citizens as important as Israel soldier

Davutoglu said, "Turkey will not accept a national investigation into Israel's attack on the six-ship flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza."

Davutoglu: Turkish citizens as important as Israel soldier

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, "Turkey will not accept a national investigation into Israel's attack on the six-ship flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. Because, the accused party cannot be both prosecutor and judge at the same time. We expect Israel to either apologize or accept an international investigation."

Davutoglu met with British Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs William Hague as part of his state visit to London.

He said at a joint news conference with his British counterpart following the meeting, "the Israeli attack on the flotilla was one of the topics high on agenda of our meeting. I told Hague that the incident occurred in the international waters and resulted in killing of civilians. This is not just a political matter for us. It is also a legal incident."

"Eight Turkish people and an American citizen were killed in the international waters. There is an offense here. Now, we are asking a simple question: Who killed these nine civilians in the international waters? They did not occupy Israeli territories, they did not harm Israeli people. Everyone knows the answer. Then, we ask again: Who has the right to kill civilians in the international waters? Someone should take the responsibility and apologize for killing people because of a mistake. In that case, we can discuss the future of the relations and the issue of compensation. If Israel thinks that it did not do any mistakes, then it should accept an international investigation. An investigation to be carried out by the UN will reveal the truth," he said.

"Internal probe not accepted"

Davutoglu said, "Turkey will not accept a national investigation into Israel's attack on the flotilla. Because, the accused party cannot be both prosecutor and judge at the same time. We expect Israel to either apologize or accept an international investigation. I think that it is a fair request. If they do not accept our request, then Turkey has the right to take any measures to protect its civilians as a respected country and state. If Israel wants to improve its relations with Turkey, it should take responsibility and do whatever is required to prevent any damage to the relations."

"Israeli government's violation of the international law has led to the current downfall in our relations," he said.

Upon a question about the Middle East peace process, Turkey's top diplomat said, "our goal is not mediation, but peace in the region. The region needs more dialogue and mediation for the time being. Israel, like all other civilized countries, should respect the international law and put an end to blockade of Gaza. This is an humanitarian issue. This is not a matter between Turkey and Israel. But it is a problem between Israel and the international community."

Turkey's often calls on Israel to accept the international probe into the deadly raid.

Israel refused a proposal by U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon for the international investigation.

The U.N. chief had suggested establishing a panel that would be headed by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer and include representatives from Turkey, Israel and the United States.

"Turkish citizens as important as Gilad Shalit"

British Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs Hague said on his part that Israel should end the blockade of Gaza.

He said that Gilad Schalit, an Israeli soldier held captive for four years, should be freed.

The British secretary added that they would continue encouraging the parties in the Middle East to reach a two-state solution as soon as possible.

Davutoglu said Turkey pursued an active foreign policy on the Middle East because of this vision and referred to Israel's attack on ship carrying aid to Gaza.

"This attack took place on international waters. Not on Israeli territory or territorial waters. Being objective does not always mean being impartial. You should be objective but you should not be indifferent. We are objective in the Middle East. We have no prejudice against Israel. However, we will not allow them when it insists that it could do whatever it wants in the international waters or in our region," he said.

Davutoglu said Turkey helped solution of the problem about abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. "Turkey respects that a soldier is important for Israel. Eight Turkish citizens are as important as Gilad Shalit," he noted.

Israeli forces raided a six-ship flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza on May 31. Nine Turkish activists were killed in the raid. The flotilla, which included three cargo ships and three passenger ships, was trying to draw attention to Israel's three-year blockade of the Gaza Strip. The boats were carrying items such as electric-powered wheelchairs, prefabricated homes and water purifiers.

The siege has prevented Gaza from rebuilding after Israel's deadly assault in the territory last year.

There has been widespread public outrage in Turkey over Israel's murders of citizens.

Turkey has withdrawn its ambassador, cancelled joint military exercises.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Temmuz 2010, 10:26

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