Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)
Turkey issued a warning to Israel on Saturday "not to repeat the human tragedy it caused last year" during the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident.
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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a television interview, "It should be known that Turkey will give the necessary response to any repeated act of provocation by Israel on the high seas," AFP reported.
Asked about his government's efforts to prevent the flotilla from taking place, Davutoglu repeated a statement he made last week, asserting that while Ankara has "never encouraged any convoy," it "cannot give instructions to civil society" not to embark on the attempt to bust Israel's blockade, according to the report.
"We have shared our views about the safety of our citizens with all
related parties," he said. "That was the case last year and it is not
any different this time."
The Turkish foreign minister also addressed the recently-announced
Palestinian reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, urging the
West to back the deal. "If the division of the Palestinian authorities
is healed, the conditions that serve Israel's justification for the
blockade will be eradicated ... and there will be no need for an aid
convoy," AFP reported.
The Mavi Marmara
incident led to a breakdown in relations between Turkey and Israel, though ties were already strained.
It was the main ship in a a flotilla of six vessels intercepted by Israeli naval forces in international waters.
With the anniversary of the incident looming, the Free Gaza Movement, a
pro-Palestinian activists group, is planning for an international convoy
of 15 vessels to set out for Gaza from various parts of Europe,
including Turkey, in late June.
IHH, a Turkish Islamic group that owned the Mavi Marmara
and organized last year's aid flotilla, intends to send a ship.
"The ships are expected to depart from Europe in the third week of June,
which means we will probably leave Turkey a few days after they do and
meet them somewhere on the route," IHH spokesman Serkan Nergis told
Reuters in Istanbul.
Turkey wants Israel to apologize for its actions on the Mavi Marmara and compensate the families of the men shot dead.
Reuters contributed to this report.