'Israel must apologize, compensate'

Turkish President: Ties with Israel in danger, raid 'al-Qaida-like.'

June 12, 2010 18:12
1 minute read.
'Israel must apologize, compensate'

Abdullah Gul 298.88ap. (photo credit: AP)

Unless Israel acts to make amends for the fatal raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla Turkey may sever bilateral relations, Turkish President Abdullah Gul threatened in an interview with French daily Le Monde published Friday.

Asked if Turkey might break relations with Israel if it did nothing, Gul said: "Anything is possible."

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The statement appeared to be an escalation in threats uttered by the Turkish leadership in the aftermath of the takeover of the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos.

On Monday it was Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said in a press conference with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Istanbul that Israel must be me held to account for its action in the raid on the Mavi Marmara, but did not specify steps Turkey intended to take.

Gul said the interception of the ships in which nine Turks were killed was a "crime," which he might have expected from the likes of al-Qaida rather than a sovereign state.

Israel needs to apologize and compensate the casualties, preferably also launching a thorough investigation into the operation and removing the blockade from Gaza, Gul said, saying otherwise Turkey could not “forgive or forget” the incident.

On Thursday the Turkish-Arab Economic Forum opened in Istanbul and Prime Minister Erdogan reaped the reward for defying the West and – along with Brazil – voting against UN sanctions on Iran at the UN Security Council. Erdogan received a thunderous reception from Arab leaders.

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