News / Europe

UN Chief 'Sincerely Hopes' Israel, Turkey Improve Relations

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (file photo)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (file photo)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he sincerely hopes Israel and Turkey will improve their relationship, following Ankara's decision to expel Israel's ambassador and suspend all military agreements.

Ban told reporters Saturday that both countries are very important to the region, and to the Middle East peace process.

Turkey downgraded diplomatic ties with Israel after details emerged late Thursday of a U.N. panel's report on last year's Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish ship.

The report officially released Friday concluded that Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip was legal, but that the Israeli government used "excessive and unreasonable" force in stopping the Turkish ship attempting to break the blockade.

It criticized the loss of life resulting from the Israeli raid as "unacceptable."  It said Israel has not provided a "satisfactory explanation" for the killings of the nine Turks, most of whom it says were "shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range."

Turkey has demanded Israel apologize for the incident, which Israel reiterated Friday it will not do.  

However, the report also found that the Israeli commandos who boarded the Turkish ship used force to protect themselves in response to what it called "significant, organized and violent resistance" from some of the passengers.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul declared the U.N. report "null and void" for Turkey, and criticized it for describing Israel's naval blockade as a legitimate security measure and in line with international law.

Israel has indicated that it accepts the findings of the U.N. report.  Turkey has long demanded an Israeli apology, compensation for the families of those who died and a scrapping of the blockade.  Israel says it has not ruled out expressing regret and offering compensation.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the Obama administration hopes the two nations "look for opportunities to improve their longstanding relationship."

In this image taken from the Free Gaza Movement website on May 28, 2010, one of the Turkish ships taking part in the 'Freedom Flotilla' is seen docked prior to heading for the shores off the Gaza Strip.
In this image taken from the Free Gaza Movement website on May 28, 2010, one of the Turkish ships taking part in the 'Freedom Flotilla' is seen docked prior to heading for the shores off the Gaza Strip.

The ship, called the Mavi Marmara, was the largest of six vessels in a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians.  The panel said the flotilla organizers "acted recklessly" by trying to breach the Israeli blockade.  It also accused Israel of "significant mistreatment" of flotilla passengers after Israeli forces commandeered the vessels in Mediterranean waters off the Israeli coast.

The report's lead authors are former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.  The four-member panel also included representatives of the Israeli and Turkish governments.

The report was completed in July but U.N. officials repeatedly have delayed its release to give Israel and Turkey an opportunity to resolve their dispute about the Mavi Marmara incident, which has severely strained relations between the one-time allies.

 

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

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
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 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 Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
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.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid