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

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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 Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid