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 Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals 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.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More