Turkey Ratchets Up Tensions With Israel Over Gaza Flotilla Incident
Posted on Jul 5, 2010
Israel’s raid on a flotilla headed for Gaza happened over a month ago, but Turkish officials haven’t forgotten the divisive incident; in fact, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu threw down the diplomatic gauntlet on Monday by declaring that his country would sever ties with Israel if certain conditions weren’t met. —KA
Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, revived tensions when his strongly worded comments were reported by the Hurriyet newspaper and picked up in Israel and across the Arab world.
“Israelis have three options,” he said. “They will either apologise or acknowledge an international, impartial inquiry and its conclusion. Otherwise, our diplomatic ties will be cut off.”
Ankara withdrew its ambassador from Tel Aviv after the flotilla raid on 31 May, when nine Turks were killed by Israeli commandos who boarded the Mavi Marmara. But this is the first time Turkey has explicitly threatened to cut off ties completely.
AP / Nasser Shiyoukhi
Israeli soldiers in the West Bank village of Beit Jala stand behind a Turkish flag, held by Palestinian, Israeli and foreign activists, not seen, during a June 6 protest against the Israeli commando raid on a flotilla headed for Gaza.