Turkey says Israeli ties depend on Gaza siege

Turkey also called on Israel to lift its siege on Gaza for restoring "normal ties."

Turkey says Israeli ties depend on Gaza siege

Turkey has warned it will cut off diplomatic ties with Israel if its citizens killed and injured in the Gaza flotilla raid are not returned by Wednesday night.

Turkey also called on Israel to lift its siege on Gaza for restoring "normal ties."

"The future of ties with Israel will depend on the attitude of Israel," Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told a news conference in Ankara on his return from the United States.

"I see no reason for not normalizing the ties, once the Gaza blockade is lifted and our citizens are released."

Gaza is still considered under Israeli occupation as Israel controls air, sea and land access to the Strip.

Turkey cancelled joint military exercises and recalled its ambassador from Israel after the Gaza flotilla attack on Monday.

Davutoglu said three of nine activists killed when Israeli commandos stormed ships trying to take aid to Gaza had been identified as Turks, while a fourth had a Turkish credit card.

He was speaking as Israel's navy prepared to attack another aid ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, on course to enter Gazan waters on Wednesday.

Turkey was awaiting the repatriation on Wednesday of hundreds of activists from Israel, after sending civilian and military aircraft to bring them home.

"I told Mrs. Clinton on the phone that we would review all ties with Israel if our citizens were not released within 24 hours, which is tonight," Davutoglu said, though he noted two were too badly wounded to travel.

Earlier before meeting Clinton, Davutoglu said, Turkey was disappointed with the Obama administration's response to deadly Israel raid.

International lawyers and human rights activists also accuse Israel of committing “genocide” through its crippling blockade of the Strip.

"Rogue state Israel"

Turkey has demanded independent international probe on the Israeli attack.

It is no one's right to try in a court humans taken from a ship sailing in international waters. Had the Israelis attempted to try the people in the ships, then the Turkish courts would have begun a legal procedure against those Israeli authorities responsible for kidnapping the people on board the ships, Davutoglu said.

No other state may take Turkish citizens to court or demand from them to sign any papers. Our citizens will return to Turkey without having been forced to any legal procedure, Davutoglu said.

I will have a meeting with the United Nations Secretary General on the matter. We want to establish a committee under the UN to seek for an investigation into the killing of nine people on board the ships. We want a full investigation due to the illegal acts of the Israeli state. Israel's act was lawless, Davutoglu also said.

"We want a detailed investigation by United Nations into Israel's rogue state actions," Davutoglu said. "What can be expected from an investigation run by a state in criminal status. It's Israel's actions that need to be investigated."

Prime Minister Erdogan also called on the international community to launch an investigation instead of waiting for action from a government which was not ashamed of its crimes.

"Turkey is not a newly established state. No one should test Turkey's patience. Turkey's friendship is valuable. On the other hand, its enmity is violent," he said.

The killings of Turks on a Turkish-flagged ship in international waters has brought the strained relationship between Turkey and Israel close to breaking point.

Erdogan has become one of the most popular figures in the Islamic world by championing the Palestinian cause.

With polls due in Turkey by July next year, Erdogan's strong stand in foreign policy could win support for his AK Party.

Protests have been held outside Israeli diplomatic missions in Ankara and Istanbul since Monday.

"It's time that calm replaced anger in reaction to Israel, people should avoid impulsive behavior," Davutoglu said.

"The security of families of Israeli diplomats, Israeli tourists and Jewish Turks is our nation's honour. We will be making sure they are safe."


Agencies

Last Mod: 02 Haziran 2010, 17:36
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