Turkey to reduce Israeli ties, sees more Gaza ships - UPDATED

Turkish deputy premier said there might be more attempts to break the embargo on Gaza if Israel insisted on keeping its blockage.

Turkey to reduce Israeli ties, sees more Gaza ships - UPDATED

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said on Friday Turkey may reduce its relations with Israel to a minimum amid tensions after the killing of nine Turkish activists by Israeli commandos on Gaza aid ship.

Turkey's deputy prime minister says economic and defense cooperation with Israel will be reduced.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told NTV television, all deals with Israel are being evaluated. He said Friday "we are serious on this issue. New cooperation will not start and relations with Israel will be reduced."

He noted that many military and economic agreements had been made with Israel and these were now on the table for discussion.

"We may plan to reduce our relations with Israel to a minimum, but to assume everything involving another country is stopped in an instant, to say we have crossed you out of our address book, is not the custom of our state," he said.

The killing of nine Turks aboard a Turkish flagged vessel during the Israeli raid on Monday has led to the worst crisis in relations between two countries.

Ankara has already cancelled joint military exercises, recalled its ambassador to Israel and successfully called for an emergency U.N. Security Council to condemn the Israeli action.

A funeral service for eight of the dead Turks was held in an Istanbul mosque on Thursday, and a service was being held for the ninth victim on Friday.

Turkey has emerged as a champion of the Palestinian cause, and is seeking to muster international support to convince Israel to end its siege of 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza.

"More ships"

Turkish deputy premier said there might be more attempts to break the embargo on Gaza if Israel insisted on keeping its blockage.

"Israel should know unless it lifted this inhumane and unlawful embargo there will be similar actions," Arinc said.

"This is a grave incident. No one could have imagined that it could reach such dimensions. This is a frenzy," Arinc said.

"The United States is turning its back on Israel and it feels it has to. Even Russia turned its back on Israel. A society which imprisons itself to fear cannot grow," Arinc said.

"But as a state we cannot completely ignore a state whose existence we recognise," he said.

Arinc explained that Turkish officials had determined that "there are not many agreements between the two states in the economic field" and that most of the existing cooperation was between companies.

Military and defence industry cooperation was the driving force behind the Turkish-Israeli alliance, sealed in 1996 with the signing of a military cooperation accord.

Israeli companies have been among the main recepients of lucrative tenders to equip the Turkish army.

One project, worth 183 million dollars, involves the manufacture of 10 unmanned aircraft and related surveillance equipment for the Turkish army in a joint venture led by Israel Aerospace Industries.

However, speaking after the raid on the aid ships, Turkish Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul said the crisis would not hamper the completion of the project.

Israel is expected to deliver the remaining four drones in June or July, he said.

The project, launched in 2005, has been delayed amid technical snags and political tensions, which have built up since Israel's devastating war on Gaza last year.

In previous years, Israeli companies have modernised about 100 Turkish F-4 and F-5 fighter jets in a deal worth some 700 million dollars, and sold Turkey rockets and electronic equipment.

In 2002, Israeli Military Industries won a 668-million-dollar tender to upgrade 170 M60 tanks, the delivery of which was completed in April.

"Gaza activists winner"

The Turkish deputy prime minister also defined the activists in Gaza-bound aid flotilla as winner and Israel as loser.

Arinc said there were Christian, Jewish and Muslims among over 200 activists from 32 countries on "Mavi Marmara" ship that was carrying aid to Gaza.

"All those people gathered for humanity, and in my opinion they were the winners and Israel was the loser," Arinc told the televised interview.

Arinc also said Israel could overcome its fear by lifting the blockade and ending injustice against Palestine.

On May 31, an Israeli raid on the convoy of ships with more than 600 people on board killed 9 people and injured nearly 30 others. Eight of the nine injured were Turkish citizens, and the other was U.S. citizen of Turkish descent.

Twenty-two people who were injured in the attack have been brought to Turkey so far. There are still two injured Turkish citizens in Israel. A plane is waiting in Israel to bring back them to Turkey.

Three Turkish Airlines (THY) planes, carrying activists who were detained after a recent Israeli raid against Gaza-bound aid ships, landed in Istanbul early on June 3.

The planes, carrying 466 activists as well as bodies of nine people that were killed in the attack, landed at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport at short intervals on June 3.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Haziran 2010, 15:56


Tughluq - 13 yıl Önce

It is a proper time to stop all these things. Zionists are using Turkish money to kill Muslims.