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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs