Turkish president demands apology for flotilla at UN

Gul calls 'Marmara' raid an "unacceptable act in international law,"; calls on Israel to put an end to the "humanitarian tragedy in Gaza.”

September 23, 2010 19:01
1 minute read.
Turkish president Abdullah Gul

Abdullah Gul 311. (photo credit: AP)

NEW YORK – Addressing the General Assembly at the United Nations on Thursday, Turkish President Abdullah Gul referenced the May 31 Gaza flotilla incident and demanded both a formal apology from Israel as well as compensation for the victims.

Calling the deaths on the Mavi Marmara an “unacceptable act in international law,” Gul said Turkey is owed “a formal apology and compensation for the aggrieved families of the victims and the injured people” by Israel.

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Gul referenced the flotilla incident in part of his remarks focusing on the political component of the General Assembly’s agenda, noting that there is “no shortage of regional issues” to be discussed.

“Peace in the Middle East holds the key to a peaceful and stable future in the world,” Gul said, addressing the body in English.  “Unfortunately, the absence of peace there has had serious and adverse consequences for the rest of the world.”

It would be difficult to make progress toward permanent peace, Gul said, “unless we put an end to the humanitarian tragedy in Gaza.”

Gul attached significance to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s Panel of Inquiry into the May 31 flotilla incident, as well as the fact finding mission of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council.

Gul said he is “pleased” with the Human Rights Council report, which he said offered “a solid legal framework for establishing the facts about the incident.” Many NGOs, including UN Watch and NGO Monitor, have deemed the work of the Human Rights Council panel irreparably biased against Israel.

Referencing Iran very briefly, Gul said there is “no alternative to diplomacy” in ensuring Iran’s conformity to International  Atomic Energy Agency norms.

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