Erdogan Slams Obama for Silence on Israel's Deadly Gaza Flotilla Raid
September 12, 2011
Haaretz & Jason Ditz / Anti-War.com & Linda S. Heard / Information Cleaning House
Turkey's premier has criticized the US President for failing to demand justice for the nine civilians (including one America) killed by Israeli forces in an attack on a Gaza flotilla ship in 2010. Ankara's intent to challenge the Israel's Gaza blockade at The Hague, saying the world will see "who is standing alongside the victims." In response, Israeli officials have threatened to arm the Kurdish rebels staging attacks in southern Turkey.
Erdogan Slams Obama for
Silence on Israel's Deadly Gaza Flotilla Raid
DPA and Haaretz
ANKARA (September 9, 2011) -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated on Saturday his country's intent to refer the legality of Israel's Gaza blockade to The Hague, adding a criticism of US President Barack Obama's position regarding Israel's 2010 of a Turkish Gaza-bound flotilla.
Speaking a convention of businessmen in the central Turkish city of Kayseri broadcast live on Turkey's state news channel TRT Erdogan vowed to continue the legal struggle for justice for the nine people killed in the raid.
"We will carry this struggle to The Hague and Erdogan criticizes Obama," the Turkish premier said, criticizing Turkish opposition leaders for what he described as "acting as advocates for Israel."
Erdogan was also deeply critical of the United States position on the Mavi Marmara incident, pointing out that he had to point out to Obama how the attack had left nine Turks dead from wounds inflicted by 35 bullets mostly fired from close range, one of them an American passport holder.
"I asked President Obama whether the reason he showed no interest in one of his nationals being killed was because [the victim] was [ethnically] Turkish -- he didn't reply," said Erdogan.
Edogan's comments came a week Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu first indicated that Turkey was to appeal the International Court of Justice in The Hague as soon as next week in order to probe the legality of Israel's naval blockade on the Gaza Strip, saying that Turkey could not "accept the blockade on Gaza."
"We cannot say that the blockade aligns with international law," he said, adding that the stance taken by the Palmer Commission Report was the author's "personal opinion, one which does not correspond with Turkey's position."
Speaking in an interview with Turkish station TRT on Saturday, Davutoglu said that Ankara was preparing to appeal the international court in The Hague, reiterating the official Turkish position, which rejects the finds of the Palmer Commission report.
He added that Ankara was planning to initiate the Hague appeal as soon as next week, saying: "We are bound by the International Court of Justice. We say that the ICJ decides."
Turkish FM Slams Israeli Counterpart
Over Calls to Back Terror
Jason Ditz / Anti-War.com
ISTANBUL (September 11, 2011) -- Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has condemned the reports coming over the past few days that Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is planning to arm the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) terrorist organization to "punish" Turkey for threatening a lawsuit over the Mavi Marmara killings.
"No one will extort us," insisted Davutoglu, adding that he was optimistic about the Israeli Prime Minister's Office's denial that such a plot would be carried out, adding he "hopes to see Israel back its denial with actions."
The Netanyahu government has long had to carry out its foreign policy with Turkey independent of its own foreign ministry, which has regularly tried to impose "harsh measures" on them. The latest series of reports, however, coming with the report that Lieberman had "scheduled meetings" with PKK leaders in Europe to discuss arming them, appears to be a bridge too far.
While Turkey has mostly shrugged off the Lieberman factor and talked directly with Netanyahu over the prospect of restoring ties, the prospect of Israeli weapons flowing into the coffers of the PKK at a time when the organization has been launching growing attacks against the Turkish military, is something Ankara cannot possibly ignore.
Even if it never extends beyond the talking stage, the very fact that it was mentioned by Lieberman as a reasonable possibility will not only harm Israeli-Turkish relations for years to come, but will likely do serious damage to Israel’s coalition.
Turkey Expels Israeli Envoy,
Threatens Lawsuit Over Flotilla Deaths
Jason Ditz / Anti-War.com
(September 2, 2011) -- Fresh off of yesterday's leaking of the UN report on the Mavi Marmara flotilla killings, the Turkish government has expelled Israel's ambassador and is suggesting further legal measures are in the offing.
The report, though claiming that the Israeli blockade of humanitarian goods from the strip was legal, also termed the killing of aid workers "excessive and unreasonable." The release had been repeatedly delayed to allow Israel and Turkey to get their stories straight, something that never happened.
Turkish officials in the US say that the government is now pondering legal action against the Israeli soldiers and all officials involved in the attack, promising to "pursue the matter resolutely."
Israeli officials shrugged off the move, and say they will never apologize for the killing of the aid workers, which they termed "actions of self defense." The attack killed nine aid workers, eight of them Turkish and one a Turkish-American.
Turkey Shouldn't Let Israel Off the Hook
An occupying nuclear power is consistently painted as the victim, while the occupied people are called terrorists
Commentary by Linda S. Heard / Information Cleaning House
(September 08, 2011)-- Ankara should be congratulated on standing up to its former ally Israel over Tel Aviv's refusal to apologize for the killing of nine Turkish activists on a Turkish aid ship attempting to break Israel's blockade of Gaza. Adding salt to the wound is a leaked report from the UN-authorized Palmer Commission into the incident that is heavily weighted in Israel's favor to the point of legalizing its siege of Gaza and confirming Israel's right to challenge ships in international waters to prevent weapons smuggling.
Turkey's reaction to the report—contradicting an earlier report by the UN Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission that stressed the blockade's illegality -- was swift. Ankara has downgraded its diplomatic relationship with Tel Aviv, frozen all military ties, is considering cutting trade links and has announced plans to seek the judgment of the International Criminal Court in The Hague as to whether Israel's siege on the Gaza Strip is legal or illegal.
Given that collective punishment of a civilian population contravenes the Fourth Geneva Convention, I don't see how credible legal minds could do anything else but pronounce its illegality.
Both the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the secretary-general of the Arab League have expressed their support for Turkey’s initiatives and have condemned the Palmer Commission's report as being a whitewash that wrongly condones Israel's attack on a humanitarian flotilla and its illegal blockade of Gaza.
One of Egypt's leading presidential hopefuls and former Arab League chief Amr Moussa says Cairo should take a leaf out of Ankara's book by recalling Egypt's ambassador from Tel Aviv over Israel's recent border incursion resulting in the murder of Egyptian security personnel.
According to an Egyptian daily, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyep Erdogan is scheduled to visit Cairo next week to meet with his Egyptian counterpart and the leadership of Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to discuss a new strategic alliance with the Arab world’s largest country. Israelis fear that Turkey is extricating itself from the US/Israel camp and is about to switch sides.
I hope that Turkey will inspire Arab states to join with it in teaching Tel Aviv a long overdue lesson, one that the Western world has shirked.
Israel's crimes against the Palestinian people since its founding in 1948 -- when entire villages were leveled and their unarmed inhabitants were murdered or driven out by the ruthless Irgun, Stern Gang and Haganah -- are too numerous to list. Israel is a state that was born from terrorism and until this day lives by the gun. Israeli politicians love to highlight "Arab terror" while feigning amnesia when it comes to their own terrorist acts.
They forget that their "pioneers" blew up Jerusalem's King David and Semiramis hotels, the massacre of Palestinians in Deir Yassin, Dawayma and Kibya, their attack on the USS Liberty for which Cairo was on the point of being nuked by the US in retaliation.
They've gotten away with their involvement in the 1982 slaughter of refugees in Lebanon’s Sabra and Shatilla camps, the killing of 1,200 Lebanese civilians in 2006 and "Operation Cast Lead" that robbed 1,400 Gazans of their lives in 2008. And until now, they've succeeded in holding the 1.5 million residents of Gaza in a virtual prison for years without any meaningful comeback from the international community.
It’s utterly shameful that Israel has been permitted to destroy Palestinian lives and livelihoods, incinerate orchards and olive groves, lock up young children for throwing stones and humiliate a proud people, true sons and daughters of the soil, for over 60 years to the sound of the West’s cheers.
Britain has much to answer for beginning with the Balfour Declaration. Neither that fading imperialist power nor the League of Nations had any moral right to turn over Palestine to European immigrants who were allowed to arm themselves and engage in military training, even as Palestinians were sentenced to life in prison for carrying a knife while those found with guns were given the death penalty.
Nothing has changed since then. When Israel uses Apache gunships and missiles to attack Gaza or instructs its commandos to hijack aid-bearing vessels in international waters, Western leaders invariably say Israel has the right to security.
When Palestinian freedom fighters—for that is what they are—launch crude homemade rockets toward Israel that mostly fall on desert sands, they are labeled as "terrorists." Think about it! It’s beyond belief that an occupying nuclear power with the most powerful military in the region is consistently painted as the victim while the occupied population is written-off as being the aggressor.
Since Uncle Sam grabbed the Zionist torch from the no longer Great Britain, Israelis rightly believe they can commit heinous crimes against Palestinians and others with absolute impunity. Washington, whose lawmakers are under the spell of the pro-Israel lobby, not only gives Israel free rein to do its worst, it attempts to block Palestinians from using recognized legal channels using its power of veto in the UN Security Council.
President Barack Obama knows full well that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has no intention of relinquishing occupied land for peace; yet he has announced that he will use America’s veto to prevent the Security Council from recognizing the Palestinians' unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state later this month. And at the same time, there is a bill being passed in Congress that will cut US aid to the Palestinian National Authority should it dare to place its case on the world's stage.
With up to 140 UN member states supporting the endeavor, the US is trying to con the Palestinian leadership with spurious offers of peace negotiations to save itself from embarrassment. At the same time, UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki moon is pressurizing Turkey to mend fences with Israel for the sake of a peace process which hasn’t existed outside of hot air since Bill Clinton was in office.
Prime Minister Erdogan and President Mahmoud Abbas must remain firm in their resolve to take Israel to task whatever the cost and if the Arab League and the OIC are ready to put their heads firmly above the parapet in unison, Israelis may get the message that in an increasingly hostile region, the bus marked "peace" is the only one worth boarding.
Linda S. Heard is a British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
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