Turkey demanded on Tuesday that the United States condemn the deadly Israeli raid on an aid flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip that ended with Israeli soldiers killing nine activists.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters ahead of a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton that Turkey was disappointed with the Obama administration's response to the raid.
In a sign of the sensitivity of the raid on U.S.-Turkish relations, the State Department closed coverage of the meeting to the press. It had previously scheduled a photo opportunity, a venue in which reporters probably would have tried to ask questions.
Before they met, however, Davutoglu was perfectly open about the message he would convey to Clinton.
"I have to be frank: I am not very happy with this statement from Washington yesterday," Davutoglu said. "We expect a clear condemnation."
"Some of our allies are not ready to condemn the Israeli actions," Davutoglu said, comparing the incident to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
"Psychologically, this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey," Davutoglu said.
"We expect full solidarity with us," he said. "It should not be a choice between Turkey and Israel. It should be a choice between right and wrong."
Davutoglu displayed a map showing that the attack took place 72 nautical miles off the coast of Israel, far beyond the 12-mile sovereign border. He said that the "Israelis believe they are above any law" but that they would be held to account by Turkey and the international community.
He said that Turkey, a NATO member, would bring up the issue soon at the security alliance's council.
"Citizens of member states were attacked by a country that is not a member of NATO," he said. "I think you can make some conclusions out of this statement."
Davutoglu said that there was no need to wait for an investigation of the killings, because in Turkey's view the raid was illegal under international law because it happened in international waters.
"This is a criminal act," he said. "We don't need to make an investigation to see this."
Davutoglu also contrasted his criticism of the United States with praise of the statements by the European Union.
Clinton has said the U.S. "strongly" supported the UN call for an urgent, impartial, transparent and reliable investigation into the deadly Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla.
Clinton told reporters Tuesday in the Department of State that they also would support Israel to conduct an investigation that would carry such qualities.
She said they were open to different suggestions including an investigation with international participation, adding that they would share their views with the Israeli administration and international partners in the days to come.
Emphasizing that the situation in Gaza was unsustainable and unacceptable, Clinton said that Gaza's access to humanitarian aid and reconstruction materials ought to be ensured. She said however that the security of Israel was also important.
Clinton said they would continue to work with UN and independent international organizations and Israeli and Palestinian administrations to ensure Gaza's access to humanitarian aid including reconstruction materials.
"Turkish contacts with foreign leaders"
Later, President Barack Obama spoke by telephone with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The White House said Obama expressed his condolences and was "working in close consultation with Israel to help achieve the release of the passengers, including those deceased and wounded, and the ships themselves."
According to a statement released by the press office of the Turkish Prime Ministry early on Wednesday, Erdogan said during the phone-talk that Israel's attack was an unacceptable unlawfulness and breach of international precedents.
Asking for the immediate return of the bodies of Turkish citizens killed in the attack as well as release and return of the wounded people, volunteers and aid ships back to Turkey, Erdogan said that the embargo on Gaza should be lifted.
Meanwhile, Erdogan on Tuesday talked to British prime minister and Iranian president and shared with them the recent developments on the attack.
Erdogan relayed British Prime Minister David Cameron the relief initiative participated by citizens of 32 countries and Israel's attack on the ship.
The statement on the conversation said, "Erdogan told Cameron that Israel's such kind of illegal stances should not be encouraged anymore, otherwise state terrorism practices would spread."
The statement quoted Erdogan as saying, "Israel got accustomed to not abiding by UN resolutions. International community should prevent this".
British premier said his country condemned the Israeli attack on ships carrying humanitarian relief to Gaza and particularly expressed great sorrow over the deaths. Britain also extended full support to UN resolution dated May 31.
Erdogan also shared the recent developments with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Israeli naval forces raided a convoy of ships of Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza, killing at least 9 people and injuring 30 others on Monday.
Turkey strongly protested Israel and recalled its ambassador.
Four of the nine people who died in Israeli forces' attack on Gaza-bound aid flotilla were Turkish citizens.
The UN Security Council, which convened in an emergency session upon Turkey's call, condemned the Israeli intervention.