Monday, July 05, 2010

Turkey Issues Ultimatum, Threatens To Sever All Ties With Israel

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the Turkish daily Hurriyet that Turkey will sever all ties with Israel unless it gets an official apology and compensation over the May 31st attempt by a Turkish flotilla to run the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza in which nine Turkish citizens were killed when they attacked IDF soldiers attempting to board the ship.

"Either they apologise, or accept an international (inquiry) commission and its report, or relations will be broken," he said.

Davutoglu also said that Turkey would accept an Israeli inquiry - provided it also resulted in an apology and compensation. (!)

So far, the Israelis have refused. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out any apology on Friday and Israeli foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said "Israel will never apologise for defending its citizens."

"Of course, we regret the loss of life but it was not the Israeli side that initiated the violence."

Apparently Turkey's ultimatum was one of the subjects of the meeting between Davutoglu and Israeli cabinet member Benjamin Ben-Eliezer in Brussels last week.

The Obama administration is fairly keen on closing the rift between the Islamist government of Turkey and Israel, and I wouldn't be surprised if Netanyahu was subjected to pressure on this issue when he meets with President obama this week in Washington.

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