Turks reduce Israel's diplomatic presence, expel envoys

Turkish FM Davutoglu announces suspension of military agreements, says diplomatic representation to be reduced to 2nd secretary level.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, REUTERS
September 2, 2011 13:14
1 minute read.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

Davutoglu 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Osman Orsal)

 
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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Friday said that Israel's diplomatic presence in Turkey was being cut to second secretary level, effectively expelling Israeli diplomats after details emerged of the Palmer Report which dealt with the IDF raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship.

"Turkey-Israel diplomatic relations have been reduced to a second secretary level. All personnel above the second secretary level will return to their countries by Wednesday at the latest," Davutoglu told a news conference.

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Davutoglu said that Turkey was also suspending military agreements after he said that some of the report's findings were unacceptable.

The report concluded that Israel faces "a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law."

At the same time, the 105-page report also said that "Israel's decision to board the vessels with such substantial force at a great distance from the blockade zone and with no final warning immediately prior to the boarding was excessive and unreasonable."

Before The New York Times published the report, Davutoglu warned that if Israel did not apologize for the incident by the time the report was formally released, Turkey would "put Plan B into play."

Plan B refers to a threat made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month that if Israel did not apologize, Turkey would further downgrade ties with Israel and aggressively oppose it in international forums. The Turks have also threatened to cut economic ties as part of a "Plan B."

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