Diplomatic and Military Affairs

Turkey downgrades diplomatic relations with Israel

Updated: 2011-09-02 19:33


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ANKARA - Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said here on Friday that Turkish-Israeli diplomatic relations would be downgraded to the level of second-secretary.

In the light of a released UN report on the last year's Gaza-bound flotilla raid, which includes accusations both against Israel and Turkey, Davutoglu on Friday announced at a press conference that his country would further reduce diplomatic relations and suspend all military ties with Israel as the Jewish country refused to apologize for the deadly attack.

"Turkey, as a country with the longest coastal line in the Eastern Mediterranean, will take every necessary measure pertaining to freedom of navigation," Davutoglu said.

Davutoglu said that Turkey did not recognize Israel's blockade over Gaza, moreover, it would demand such issue to be reviewed by the International Court of Justice.

On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos raided a humanitarian aid flotilla heading for Gaza, killing nine Turkish nationals, one of whom was a US citizen.

Turkey called back its ambassador to Israel immediately and demanded Israel to make a formal apology, pay compensation to the families of the victims and to end its blockade over Gaza.

The United Nations established an inquiry panel to examine the incident. The UN panel's long-awaited report, is expected to be handed over to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday, which declared that Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip was legal and appropriate, but that the raid to the Turkey-based flotilla was "excessive and unreasonable."

Earlier, a copy of the 105-page report has been obtained by the US daily New York Times.


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