Friday, September 02, 2011

Turkey's temper tantrum

Turkey, which claims that they denied an Israeli request to push off the release of the Palmer report, is outraged that the New York Times released that same report a day early.

And they are downgrading relations with Israel:

Turkey on Friday downgraded its diplomatic relations with Israel to the lowest possible level, expelling the Israeli ambassador and canceling all military agreements with Israel, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters, a day after The New York Times published a leaked U.N. report into the May 2010 Gaza flotilla incident.

The report backed Israel's legal right to impose a naval blockade on Gaza, but said Israeli commandos used "excessive and unacceptable force" when they commandeered the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship in the Gaza-bound flotilla, in international waters. The report slammed Turkey for not doing enough to ward off the deadly confrontation at sea. Turkey has rejected the report's conclusions and is sticking to its demand that Israel apologize for the incident, which left nine of its citizens dead, and compensate the victims' families.

A visibly angry Davutoglu told reporters at a press conference that since Israel had not apologized for the incident, Ankara was embarking on a series of steps against Israel, including scrapping all military agreements between the two once-close allies, and downgrading diplomatic ties to the level of second secretary. Davutoglu said that Israel's ambassador in Ankara, Gaby Levy, will leave Turkey by Wednesday.

Davutoglyu said Turkey would initiate legal action against the Gaza blockade in international courts, as well as aid families of those killed in the Gaza flotilla raid in seeking litigation against Israel.

The five measures Turkey is taking against Israel:

1. Downgrade diplomatic ties between the two countries to level of second secretary, effectively expelling diplomats above the said level.

2. All military agreements will be put on hold.

3. Turkey will take measures for freedom of maritime movement in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

4. Turkey will no longer recognize the Gaza blockade and will take the issue to the International Court of Justice.

5. Turkey will support all flotilla victims, Turkish and foreign, in court.
Turkish President Abdullah Gül on Friday termed a leaked United Nations panel report on the Mavi Marmara incident “null and void” for Turkey, saying a series of decisions taken by the Turkish government in the face of the report are only initial steps, signaling further measures.

Turkey may be outraged, and Israel upset, but Hamas is happy.

So are Israel's Arab MKs. (h/t Sophie)