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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani 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.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
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.
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.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid