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  • » 09/02/2011, 00.00

    TURKEY – ISRAEL

    Turkey imposes sanctions against Israel in the wake of UN report on the Gaza flotilla



    Israel’s ambassador is expelled and diplomatic relations are downgraded to the secretary level. Ankara cancels defence agreements and will provide aid to the families of the people killed in the Israeli raid against the Mavi Marmara. Turkey continues to demand Israel’s apology and compensation for the families of those killed.
    Tel Aviv (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Turkey has decided to downgrade diplomatic ties with Israel after the release of a UN report on Israel’s attempt to stop a Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, from breaking the Gaza maritime blockade. Dissatisfied by the report, Turkey continues to demand Israel apologise. In the meantime, it has imposed a number of sanctions.

    Speaking to the press, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said he ordered the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from Turkey, and the reduction of Turkey’s diplomatic representation in Israel to the secretary level. He also cancelled all remaining defence agreements with Israel, and ordered an international legal action against the Gaza blockade as well as the distribution of aid to the families of those who died in last year’s incident (see “Israel attacks ship carrying aid to Gaza. At least 10 dead,” in AsiaNews, 31 May 2010).

    On 31 May 2010, Israeli commandos stormed the Mavi Marmara, a ship that had left Istanbul carrying pro-Palestinian activists trying to force the Gaza blockade to bring medicine to the territory. The Israeli attack, in international waters, left nine Turkish activists dead. Turkey immediately called for a UN investigation, and demanded an apology from Israel.

    The UN report, scheduled for release in February, should be made public today, but the New York Times released a copy yesterday.

    Prepared by a panel headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer, the report is a difficult balancing act.

    Whilst defending the naval blockade of Gaza (even in international waters), it criticises Israel for the excessive use of force by its commandos. Equally, it criticised Turkey for not doing enough to stop the ship from leaving port as well as the activists for acting “recklessly”. It slammed Israeli soldiers for their abusive treatment of activists and described the loss of life as “unacceptable”.

    The Turkish member of the panel Ozdem Sanberk disputed some of the report’s conclusions, especially the view that the blockade was legal and that activists’ behaviour was also blameworthy.

    Israeli panellist Joseph Ciechanover for his part rejected criticism of Israeli soldiers arguing that they acted in self-defence.

    So far, Israel has issued no immediate formal comment, but one senior Israeli official expressed some satisfaction. "The bottom line is that the Israeli actions were legal," he told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

    Since the dispute arose, the United States has tried to mediate between Israel and Turkey, given the latter’s importance as a member of NATO and a US ally in the Mediterranean.
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    See also

    07/07/2010 TURKEY – ISRAEL
    Erdogan’s ways and contradictions
    Turkey’s prime minister is having to manage a major crisis with Israel, something of great concern to the United States and Syria. At the same time, his government is unable to find a political solution to Turkey’s Kurdish question.

    06/11/2012 TURKEY – ISRAEL
    Mavi Marmara, Ankara opens trial against former Israeli officers
    Trial in absentia on charges of "incitement to murder". If convicted the judges may issue an international arrest warrant. In the assault on the Mavi Marmara nine activists were killed, dozens wounded. For Tel Aviv it is a unilateral political act "without" judicial credibility. "

    14/09/2011 TURKEY – ISLAM
    Erdogan attacks Israel in Cairo, offers himself as leader of Arab world
    The Turkish prime minister describes Gaza blockade as a “crime”, says a Palestinian state is “not an option but a necessity”. In reference to Syria, he says, “The legitimate demands of the people cannot be repressed with force and in blood,” reminding his audience that Turks and Arabs are brothers.

    06/05/2009 UNITED NATIONS – ISRAEL
    UN accuses Israel of deliberately targeting its installations in Gaza
    The board of inquiry blames Israel for attacks against schools, a hospital and UNRWA headquarters. Israel slams the report as “tendentious, patently biased,” and that it “ignores the facts” in “both spirit and language”.

    03/06/2010 TURKEY - ISRAEL
    Heroes welcome for activists deported from Israel and bodies of those killed on ships to Gaza
    Turkey’s deputy prime minister accuses Israel of "piracy." Thousands of relatives and friends cry: "Turkey is proud of you!" And "Down with Israel". Seven activists remain in Israel because injured. Three others - from Ireland, Italy and Australia - still in prison. Another ship is about to arrive in Gaza with humanitarian aid. United States and Italy urge Israel to open an independent investigation into the raid.



    Editor's choices

    VATICAN
    Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan



    During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.


    VATICAN-CHINA
    May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium

    Bernardo Cervellera

    The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.


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