Turkish ambassador to the United States said that Israel owes Turkey an apology for its attack on a Gaza-bound flotilla.
Ambassador Namik Tan's article titled "Why Turkey is outraged at Israel?" was published in the Washington Post.
"As we now know well, instead of the day ending with the delivery of humanitarian aid to ease the desperate lives of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, it began with the killing by Israel Defense Forces of nine peace activists and the wounding of about 30, all civilians," Tan said in the statement.
"The Free Gaza flotilla was not an initiative by the Turkish government. It was an international aid convoy made up of nationals of 32 countries taking food, toys, medical equipment and similar aid to the people of Gaza, who have been deprived of these basic commodities for years," he said.
Whatever the aid carriers may have chanted in opposition to Israel, this was a humanitarian initiative. In any democratic country, people have freedom of expression so long as they avoid violence.
The ambassador added the move of Israel violated the internatonal laws, saying that "because the attack took place in international waters, 72 miles off Israel's coast, it was illegal.
That flouting of international law, the loss of life and the inexplicable and protracted detention of the ships' passengers only partially explain why the Turkish public, along with the international community, is so stunned and angry and why the Turkish government immediately withdrew its ambassador to Israel and canceled joint military exercises with that country.
"The offense is painful, too, because the Turkish people have for centuries been hospitable to Jews. Unlike many nations, the Ottoman Empire welcomed Jews who escaped the Spanish Inquisition in 1492. Our diplomats risked their lives to save European Jews from the Nazi threat during World War II and brought them to refuge in Turkey," Tan also said.
"We cannot avert our eyes when the lives of our citizens -- innocents -- are lost during an illegal assault in defense of a blockade that is unfair, inhumane and unsustainable. We cannot stand idly by when actions threaten to set back efforts to bring peace to such a volatile region," Tan cited.
Tan said that Israel should decide how it would restore the ties with turkey and international community adding that it "can start by bringing an end to its blockade on Gaza; by ending its inappropriate and disproportionate police actions toward the Palestinian civilians of that land; and by allowing a prompt, independent, impartial, credible and transparent international investigation into the incident."
He said that Israel owes an apology to the Turkish nation.
The United States should encourage Israel to become a genuine partner for peace in the Middle East, he said.
AALast Mod: 05 Haziran 2010, 17:22