Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
The government is turning a deaf ear to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet
Davutoglu’s anti-Israel rants because it does not want to play a role in the
Turkish elections on June 12, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
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last couple of days Davutoglu, campaigning in his home province of Konya in
central Anatolia, has pounced on Israel in a number of interviews.
instance, the Hurriyet
newspaper quoted him on Sunday as saying in an interview
with the Radikal daily that “there cannot be peace in the Middle East if Israel
is seen as a ‘privileged country that is above international law.’ Israel needs
to accept being subject to international law as an ordinary
According to Davutoglu, “The crime against humanity
committed last year [by Israel against the Mavi Marmara
protest ship] still has
not been accounted for. Israel must be warned about this.”
compared Israel’s military steps in the Gaza Strip with Libyan leader Muammar
Gaddafi’s actions in Libya, according to Hurriyet
“Israel is killing
civilians,” Davutoglu said. “It killed civilians in Gaza. What sanctions were
imposed on it? Libya is [Gaddafi’s] own country.
Killings cannot be
legitimized, but it’s something happening in his own country. Israel is killing
people in another country, in the Palestinian territories. For me, this
is the main psychological threshold.”
The assessments in Israel,
meanwhile, are that everything being said right now by Turkish politicians must
be seen through the prism of the upcoming elections, which Turkish Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islam-based Justice and Development party
are expected to win handily.
According to these assessments, much of what
is being said about Israel is meant for domestic political consumption, and by
reacting Israel would be playing into the hands of those making the
Israel, meanwhile, continues to work behind the scenes trying
to convince the international community that another flotilla, scheduled to
launch at the end of the month, is an unnecessary provocation.
officials have said that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s recent statement
against the flotilla was significant in that it may give justification to
certain countries – such as Cyprus and Greece – to not let their ports be used
to set sail for Gaza.
Ban, according to a statement put out by his
office, sent letters on Friday to all the governments around the Mediterranean
Sea calling on them to use their influence to discourage such flotillas, which
he said “carry the potential to escalate into violent conflict.” Ban said
assistance and goods destined to Gaza should be channeled through legitimate
crossings and established channels.
A number of other foreign ministries
and leaders around the world have come out with statements asking their
nationals to refrain from taking part in the flotilla.
For instance, on
Saturday Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird issued a statement strongly urging
“those wishing to deliver humanitarian goods to the Gaza Strip to do so through
Unauthorized efforts to deliver aid are provocative
and, ultimately, unhelpful to the people of Gaza. Canada recognizes Israel’s
legitimate security concerns and its right to protect itself and its residents
from attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including by preventing the
smuggling of weapons.”
Statements such as these are seen in Jerusalem as
eroding the flotilla’s legitimacy. Moreover, if Israel again has to take action
against the flotilla to keep it from reaching Gaza, these statement will be used
to provide legitimacy for the government’s actions.
Much of Israel’s
diplomatic activity is aimed at creating a more understanding diplomatic
environment if the navy has to once again stop the flotilla.
made clear that it will enforce the naval blockade of the Gaza
Meanwhile, despite the claims of the organizers of the flotilla
that they have some 1,500 people ready to set sail, and some 13 or 14 vessels,
the assessment in Jerusalem is that this is an exaggeration, and that the
organizers are having difficulty both raising money to fund the purchase of
boats, and finding companies willing to insure them.