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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Turkey Prime Minister says Israel's attack on aid flotilla is state terrorism, calls for world intervention

No one should test Turkey’s patience, PM Erdoğan warns

(Today's Zaman) --

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who cut his trip to Chile short after Israel's attack on a Turkish-led humanitarian aid flotilla on Monday, said in an address to his party's parliamentary group on Tuesday that Israel should not test Turkey's diplomatic patience and that Turkey would do everything in its diplomatic power to give the deserved response.

He said Turkey would act together with the international community to give the deserved response to Israel using all possibilities offered by international law and diplomacy.

“This bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of condemnation,” he said, demanding that Israel immediately halt its “inhumane” blockade of Gaza. The flotilla was the ninth attempt by sea to breach the three-year blockade Israel and Egypt imposed after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, home to 1.5 million Palestinians. Israel allowed five seaborne aid shipments to get through but snapped the blockade shut after its 2009 war in Gaza.

“They have once again showed to the world that they know how good they are at killing people,” Erdoğan said. “Israel can in no way legitimize this murder; it cannot wash its hands of this blood.” He said the incident was no longer a problem between two countries but a problem of the entire world.

Erdoğan sharply criticized Israel for the “bloody massacre” that killed at least nine people on a Gaza-bound aid vessel and warned Tuesday that no one should test Turkey’s diplomatic patience. He said it was unacceptable to equate unarmed civilians with terrorists and warned Israel that Turkey was not a country they would like to be enemies with. “Turkey will not let this go,” he said, adding, “Turkey’s hostility is as strong as its friendship is valuable.”

“Unfortunately, what happened yesterday was a dark stain on the history of humanity. Staging an armed attack on aid ships, killing innocent people and treating civilians as if they were terrorists are nothing but a degradation of humanity and vile recklessness. Even warfare has its rules. Even in warfare, no one can attack children, women, the elderly, civilians, religious officials and aid workers. Even despots, bandits and pirates have a certain sense of sensitivity. They abide by some moral principles,” he said.

“But Israel has almost challenged the whole world by raiding ships carrying volunteers from 32 different nations. This insolent, irresponsible, reckless and unfair attack by the Israeli government, which trampled on every kind of human value, must be punished by all means,” he said.

Attack staged against UN values
Erdoğan said: “The ships declared their cargo and their intention to the whole world before setting sail for Gaza. Sixty journalists from Turkey and other countries were also on board the ships to witness the campaign. It is evident that this attack on 600 people and six ships carrying aid to poor Palestinian people who were left destitute was one staged against the basic philosophy of the United Nations. The ships were laden with aid supplies and they were strictly controlled under international shipping rules. They were carrying volunteers. But they were subjected to such an armed attack,” he said.

“Following the terrorist attack on the naval base and the illegal attack on aid ships by Israeli forces, I cut short my visit to Chile and returned to Turkey. Our government has been following the developments closely from the very beginning. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç held an extraordinary meeting with relevant ministers and other officials. Our foreign minister and national defense minister held telephone conversations with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to convey Turkey’s reaction and uneasiness,” he said.

Erdoğan said: “Turkey has been using all means of international law and diplomacy and will continue to do so in the days ahead. To this end, we recalled our ambassador in Tel Aviv. Three joint military exercises scheduled with Israel were cancelled. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu went to New York and called the UN Security Council to hold an extraordinary meeting. As a result, the UN Security Council issued a statement condemning Israel and called for the immediate release of civilians and injured passengers. Matches to be played between Turkish and Israeli soccer teams were cancelled. The NATO Council will convene later today and the Organization of the Islamic Conference [OIC] will meet on Monday.”...

Erdoğan said Israel cannot face the international community without expressing “regret.” “Israel cannot ensure its security by drawing the hatred of the entire world,” the prime minister declared.

Erdoğan said an aggressive country conducting state terrorism with no remorse could no longer face the international community. He said Israel attacking a civilian ship in international waters was a crime, but killing innocent people was state terrorism. “We are sick of your lies. Be honest,” he said, calling on Israel and demanding the return of the six seized ships...MORE...LINK

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