News / Europe

    Turkey Expels Israel's Ambassador, Cuts Military Ties Over UN Report

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks to the media in Ankara, Turkey, September 2, 2011.
    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks to the media in Ankara, Turkey, September 2, 2011.
    Dorian Jones

    Turkey has expelled Israel's ambassador to Ankara. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced Ankara's expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, along with a suspension of all military agreements with Israel, in a short statement to the media.

    He said Turkey is reducing its relations with Israel to the level of second secretary, and expects the ambassador to leave by Wednesday.

    The expulsion comes after details were leaked of a U.N. report into the killing last year by Israeli forces of nine Turks who were taking part in a flotilla of ships seeking to break Israel's economic blockade of the Gaza Strip.

    Ankara gave Friday, the day the U.N. report is to be officially released, as the deadline for an apology from Jerusalem and for the payment of compensation to the families of those killed.  Davutoglu blamed divisions in the Israeli government for its failure to meet Turkey's demands.

    Turkey met four times with the Israelis, he said, and on two occasions reached an agreement to which the Israeli prime minister agreed, but not the Israeli Cabinet.

    The Turkish foreign minister said his government will now provide full support to the families of those killed to pursue prosecution of any Israeli military or government members responsible for the deaths.

    The U.N. report said excessive force was used by Israel. It also said some of those killed were shot in the back and at close quarters. But the report also defended Israel's right to enforce its economic embargo on Gaza. That finding is strongly condemned by the Turkish government. President Abdullah Gul strongly condemned the report.

    Such a report does not exist for Turkey,he said.  He went on to issue a warning, saying Turkey, as the most powerful country in the region, will not only protect its own rights but also those of all the people in need. He said the international community should be aware of this.

    Mr. Gul's warning came after Foreign Minister Davutoglu said Turkey would take measures to ensure free maritime movement in the eastern Mediterranean.  Davutoglu refused to explain how exactly Turkey will do this.

    Diplomatic columnist Semih Idiz says such ambiguity will cause concern.

    "It does suggest that the Turkish navy will be patrolling the area and obviously against Israeli ships," says Idiz. "Some groups may decide to force the blockade, relying on Turkish intervention."

    The Turkish Islamic charity, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, could be key to determining what direction Turkish-Israeli relations take.

    Last year's killings took place during the seizure by Israeli forces of the group's ship, the Mavi Marmara.  Huseyin Oruc, deputy head of the foundation, welcomed Ankara's tough stance.  He said the group has no current plans to send ships to Gaza, but did not rule it out in the future.

    "What Israel says in [the] eastern Mediterranean, 'I can stop anyone. I can kill whoever out of my beliefs. I can do whatever I like.' But now another country says that is not acceptable. 'If you do something, I will prevent them.' It's very, very important.  If we feel that the Gazan people are in need, we can go of course. Still we have a boat," says Oruc.

    The foundation withdrew the Mavi Marmara at the last minute from this year's attempt to break Israel's Gaza blockade.

    That withdrawal is widely believed to have come about because of pressure from the Turkish government. There had been hopes and rumors that Jerusalem would meet Turkey's demands, under reported intense pressure from the United States. Now there seems little hope of that, according to diplomatic columnist Idiz.

    "Well, the implications are that they are more or less finished.  I mean, the sides have just drawn their red lines and they [are] not prepared to concede in any way. This could have been resolved a long time ago, but clearly there is no will on either [side] to do so."

    Observers say with the crisis in Syria continuing to deepen, another crisis could now be looming between two of Syria's neighbors, Israel and Turkey, the region's most powerful countries.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora