Israel wants no saber-rattling with Turkey: government

by
September 9, 2011

(Reuters) – A senior government minister cautionedTurkey on Friday that it was bound by international law in its challenge to an Israeli naval blockade on Gaza, but stressed that Israel was not interested in a war of words with its once-close ally.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday set the stage for a potential naval confrontation, declaring that Turkish warships would escort future convoys to the Gaza Strip to prevent a repeat of a deadly Israeli raid last year.

“The things Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said are harsh and serious, but I don’t think it would be right to get into any verbal saber-rattling with him,” Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor told Israel Army Radio. “Our silence is the best response. I hope this phenomenon will pass.”

Ankara downgraded diplomatic relations and vowed to boost naval patrols in the eastern Mediterranean after Israel refused to apologies’ for killing nine Turks in a commando raid on a Turkish aid ship that tried to breach its blockade of Gaza, a Palestinian enclave ruled by the Palestinian Islamist Hamas.

Meridor also said that an inquiry commissioned by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had vindicated Israel’s blockade, calling it a legitimate security measure to prevent weapons from the tiny coastal territory.

“Turkey, which claims that Israel is not above international law, needs to understand that neither is it (above international law). A U.N. committee has determined that the blockade is legal,” he said.

The same committee called Israel’s use of force in the 2010 raid “excessive and unreasonable”, saying the loss of life had been “unacceptable”. Israel expressed regrets for the deaths.

The United States has been hoping to ease tensions between its two main allies in the Middle East.

Dan Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, told Israel Radio: “We are encouraging both countries to find a way to work together to overcome their differences and restore at least some of the friendship that they previously had.”

Earlier this week, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel and Turkey will eventually mend fences rather than become foes, describing their spat over Gaza as “spilled milk”.

In addition to an apology, NATO-member Turkey has demanded that Israel end the Gaza blockade. Israel says the closure is needed to keep arms from reaching Palestinian guerrillas by sea.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Crispian Balmer; and Mark Heinrich)

 

1 Comment - what are your thoughts?

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Keep the Fake News Media in check.

    Don’t let the MSM censor your news as America becomes Great Again. Over 500,000 Americans receive our daily dose of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness along with Breaking News direct to their inbox—and you can too. Sign up to receive news and views from The 1776Coalition!

    We know how important your privacy is and your information is SAFE with us. We’ll never sell
    your email address and you can unsubscribe at any time directly from your inbox.
    View our full privacy policy.