Wednesday, June 2, 2010
No one should test Turkey’s patience, PM Erdoğan warns
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who cut his trip to Chile short after Israel's attack on a Turkish-led humanitarian aid flotilla on Monday, said in an address to his party's parliamentary group on Tuesday that Israel should not test Turkey's diplomatic patience and that Turkey would do everything in its diplomatic power to give the deserved response.
He said Turkey would act together with the international community to give the deserved response to Israel using all possibilities offered by international law and diplomacy.
“This bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of condemnation,” he said, demanding that Israel immediately halt its “inhumane” blockade of Gaza. The flotilla was the ninth attempt by sea to breach the three-year blockade Israel and Egypt imposed after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007, home to 1.5 million Palestinians. Israel allowed five seaborne aid shipments to get through but snapped the blockade shut after its 2009 war in Gaza.
PM Erdoğan sharply criticized Israel's ‘bloody massacre’ that killed nine people on a Gaza-bound aid ship and warned that nobody should test Turkey's patience. The harsh words came after Turkey withdrew its ambassador to Israel, scrapped three joint military exercises and called the UN Security Council to an emergency meeting
“They have once again showed to the world that they know how good they are at killing people,” Erdoğan said. “Israel can in no way legitimize this murder; it cannot wash its hands of this blood.” He said the incident was no longer a problem between two countries but a problem of the entire world.
Erdoğan sharply criticized Israel for the “bloody massacre” that killed at least nine people on a Gaza-bound aid vessel and warned Tuesday that no one should test Turkey’s diplomatic patience. He said it was unacceptable to equate unarmed civilians with terrorists and warned Israel that Turkey was not a country they would like to be enemies with. “Turkey will not let this go,” he said, adding, “Turkey’s hostility is as strong as its friendship is valuable.”
“Unfortunately, what happened yesterday was a dark stain on the history of humanity. Staging an armed attack on aid ships, killing innocent people and treating civilians as if they were terrorists are nothing but a degradation of humanity and vile recklessness. Even warfare has its rules. Even in warfare, no one can attack children, women, the elderly, civilians, religious officials and aid workers. Even despots, bandits and pirates have a certain sense of sensitivity. They abide by some moral principles,” he said.
“But Israel has almost challenged the whole world by raiding ships carrying volunteers from 32 different nations. This insolent, irresponsible, reckless and unfair attack by the Israeli government, which trampled on every kind of human value, must be punished by all means,” he said.
Prime Minister Erdoğan sharply criticized Israel for the “bloody massacre” that killed at least nine people aboard a Gaza-bound aid ship and warned on Tuesday that nobody should test Turkey’s diplomatic patience.
Attack staged against UN values
Erdoğan said: “The ships declared their cargo and their intention to the whole world before setting sail for Gaza. Sixty journalists from Turkey and other countries were also on board the ships to witness the campaign. It is evident that this attack on 600 people and six ships carrying aid to poor Palestinian people who were left destitute was one staged against the basic philosophy of the United Nations. The ships were laden with aid supplies and they were strictly controlled under international shipping rules. They were carrying volunteers. But they were subjected to such an armed attack,” he said.
“Following the terrorist attack on the naval base and the illegal attack on aid ships by Israeli forces, I cut short my visit to Chile and returned to Turkey. Our government has been following the developments closely from the very beginning. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç held an extraordinary meeting with relevant ministers and other officials. Our foreign minister and national defense minister held telephone conversations with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to convey Turkey’s reaction and uneasiness,” he said.
Erdoğan said: “Turkey has been using all means of international law and diplomacy and will continue to do so in the days ahead. To this end, we recalled our ambassador in Tel Aviv. Three joint military exercises scheduled with Israel were cancelled. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu went to New York and called the UN Security Council to hold an extraordinary meeting. As a result, the UN Security Council issued a statement condemning Israel and called for the immediate release of civilians and injured passengers. Matches to be played between Turkish and Israeli soccer teams were cancelled. The NATO Council will convene later today and the Organization of the Islamic Conference [OIC] will meet on Monday.”
“We rejected Israel’s offer to send us the injured passengers. We have the will and power to bring our own injured people back. Two military ambulances left to bring back the injured passengers. Civilian planes of the Ministry of Health are about to arrive there,” he said.
Erdoğan also said that “Israel must inform the world public opinion correctly. It should not refrain from international cooperation. Israel should acknowledge the importance of the situation and correct its mistake.”
The prime minister said Turkey would continue to support the Palestinian people. “We will not turn our back on Palestine, the Palestinians and Gaza,” he said. “No one should test Turkey’s patience,” he added. “Turkey’s hostility is as strong as its friendship is valuable.” Erdoğan said Israel had turned into a nation that creates instability in its region and called on the international community to intervene. “There is an administrative mentality here that has adopted violence as its policy and that deems displaying acts of cruelty as legitimate. The illegal acts of the Israeli administration can no longer be covered up or ignored. It is time for the international community to say ‘enough already’.”
Some ambassadors also listened to PM Erdoğan’s speech at the parliamentary group meeting yesterday.
Erdoğan also said Turkey has always stood against anti-Semitism and offered protection to the Jewish people when they were victims of violence and persecution. He said it was now the Israelis’ turn to do the same. He said the Israeli government, in lying, using deception, engaging in bloodshed and massacring the innocent, was damaging the people of Israel most. He also thanked the Turkish-Jewish community for its stance regarding Israel’s attacks. Erdoğan urged Israelis to question the actions of their government. “It is damaging your country’s image by conducting banditry and piracy,” he said. “It is damaging the interests of Israel and your peace and safety. It is the Israeli people who must stop the Israeli government in the first place,” he added.
Erdoğan said Israel cannot face the international community without expressing “regret.” “Israel cannot ensure its security by drawing the hatred of the entire world,” the prime minister declared.
Erdoğan said an aggressive country conducting state terrorism with no remorse could no longer face the international community. He said Israel attacking a civilian ship in international waters was a crime, but killing innocent people was state terrorism. “We are sick of your lies. Be honest,” he said, calling on Israel and demanding the return of the six seized ships.
Parliament speaker on Israel
Parliament Speaker Mehmet Ali Şahin also made a statement on Israel’s attack on Tuesday. He said Turkey wanted peace in its region and in the world. Speaking to the press during his reception of Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA) President Joao Soares in Ankara, Şahin said Turkey did not want to be in conflict with any other country. “Nonetheless, it is a reality that we are going through a serious problem with Israel,” Şahin admitted. “What took place was a human tragedy. An attack on people carrying aid supplies can in no way be accepted. International organizations and countries of the world must react so that similar acts are not repeated in the future,” Şahin said.
In response to a question on future Turkish-Israeli relations, Şahin said that “we want peace in our region and the world.”
Military brass, PM hold second summit Erdoğan called an emergency summit with Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ and those ministers who are members of the National Security Council (MGK) on Tuesday at noon to discuss Israel. The prime minister, Başbuğ and the MGK ministers were scheduled to meet again at 8 p.m. Tuesday to further discuss action against Israel. No details of the first meeting were officially announced, but Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, speaking to journalists in the afternoon, said, “Do not expect us to go to war.”