News / Europe

Erdogan: Turkish Warships Will Escort Aid Vessels to Gaza

Turkish  Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan walks before a ceremony outside his office in Ankara, Turkey, Sept. 8, 2011.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan walks before a ceremony outside his office in Ankara, Turkey, Sept. 8, 2011.

Turkey says warships will accompany any of its vessels carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip to protect them from Israeli interference.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told al-Jazeera television Thursday that Turkey will continue its attempts to deliver aid to Gaza, but will not allow a repeat of last year's Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara, which left nine people dead.

Erdogan said Turkey has taken steps to patrol the eastern Mediterranean, vowing to stop Israel from "unilaterally exploiting" natural resources in the area.

In an interview with Israel's Army Radio on Friday, Israeli Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor dismissed Erdogan's remarks as a "grave and serious" aggravation, but declined to comment further, saying he hopes the situation "will pass."

Turkey downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel this week. It expelled the Israeli ambassador and other senior diplomats from Ankara, as well as suspended military trade and cooperation with its former ally.

A Turkish ruling party official, Huseyin Celik, said relations can return to "old days" under certain conditions, reiterating Turkey's demand for an Israeli apology for the Mavi Marmara raid.  He also demanded the payment of compensation to the families of the Turkish activists killed in the incident.

Earlier Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said he believes the rift "will pass," saying Turkey is "not an enemy" of Israel. But he again insisted that Israel would not apologize for the raid.

U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone said Washington wants the two nations to keep diplomatic channels open and normalize relations as soon as possible.

Turkey's main opposition party (CHP) has criticized the government's handling of the crisis, saying it should not have allowed such a drastic deterioration in its relationship with Israel.

The dispute began in May 2010, when Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara. The ship was carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip in defiance of an Israeli blockade aimed at preventing weapons from reaching militants. A confrontation on the vessel led to the killings of nine Turkish activists and the wounding of several Israeli soldiers.

A U.N. report published last week argued that Israel's naval blockade was a legitimate security measure, but said that Israel used "excessive and unreasonable" force in the incident. The report also accused the flotilla organizers of acting "recklessly" by challenging the blockade.

Israel has accepted the U.N. report with some reservations, while Turkey has rejected its key findings.

On Thursday, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called the report "credible," and urged the two nations to resolve their differences so they can continue working together on shared issues facing the region.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid