Israel should admit sole responsibility for the killing of nine activists during a raid on a Gaza aid flotilla, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday.
A U.N. inquiry into the Israeli commando raid on the aid convoy on May 31 was due to meet for the first time later in the day. The killing of the activists, all Turks, although one was a U.S. citizen, almost caused a breakdown in relations.
Davutoglu said the commission formed by the United Nations to investigate Israel's attack on aid ships would carry out studies in detail, noting that Israel should undertake the responsibility of what it had done. He said Turkey did not have any responsibility on this issue.
The vessels were part of a six-ship flotilla which tried to break Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip and deliver tons of humanitarian aid.
On May 31, Israeli commandos stormed all six ships, brutally killed nine Turkish activists aboard the Mavi Marmara.
When asked about the statements of Netanyahu accusing Turkey, Davutoglu said, "nobody can lay the burden of killing of civilians in international waters onto another party. There is an obvious situation. Israel killed civilians in international waters.
Before all, they should undertake the responsibility of it. Turkey relies on the studies of the international commission on the issue. We believe that perpetrators will be determined in line with international laws. Turkey is resolved to protect the rights of its citizens."
Turkey withdrew its ambassador after the raid and called off joint military exercises, but stopped short of breaking diplomatic ties completely. It wants Israel to apologise and offer compensation to the victims' families.
The United Nations Human Rights Council named its own three-person flotilla commission last month. That panel is also expected to report its findings in September.
The Israeli army's internal inquiry into the raid recommended no disciplinary action against senior officers, and concluded that "the use of live fire was justified" on board the Mavi Marmara.
A separate civilian panel, chaired by former Israeli supreme court judge Jacob Turkel, is also investigating the raid.
Related news reports:Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ağustos 2010, 18:27