Turkish opposition attacks gov’t over support of flotilla

FM slams patriotism of CHP leader for posing same questions as Israel.

The 'Mavi Marmara' 311 (R) (photo credit: Reuters/Emrah Dalkaya)
The 'Mavi Marmara' 311 (R)
(photo credit: Reuters/Emrah Dalkaya)
A battle of words between Turkey’s ruling and opposition parties over Israel appears to be intensifying every day, with each party accusing the other of spoiling ties with the Jewish state.
“We should all avoid acts that would weaken our position with regard to the ongoing inquiry at the United Nations about the Mavi Marmara incident,” Foreign Minister Davutoglu told CNNTürk in an interview on Monday.
Davutoglu’s remarks came as a reaction to Kemal Kılıçdaroglu, head of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, who has been questioning the government’s role in last year’s Mavi Marmara incident, in which Turkish citizens died taking part in the flotilla to Gaza.
Kılıçdaroglu harshly slammed the government for sending hundreds of activists to Gaza without considering the consequences and hinted it was behind the organization.
“Questions Mr. Kılıçdaroglu are posing are the same as Israel’s. This is very thought-provoking,” Davutoglu said.
“Introducing these questions as a tool to the domestic politics is wrong and they should not be done by the main opposition party.”
Recalling that Turkey was in a legal struggle with Israel to secure the rights of “murdered” Turkish citizens while trying to carry humanitarian aid to Gaza, Davutoglu said he wanted to see all political parties back this struggle.
Kılıçdaroglu, however, continued his criticism in Mersin and Silifke. Saying that an investigation into the Mavi Marmara incident was stopped by order of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kılıçdaroglu hinted it was to cover up the government’s errors.
“A criminal complaint was filed about this. The Justice Ministry has to give permission to launch an investigation.
Why was this permission not given? Did you give or not give this permission?” he asked.
The Justice Ministry denied Kılıçdaroglu’s allegations on the failure to open a probe of the Mavi Marmara incident. “To start a legal action, it’s necessary to see the completion of an ongoing prosecution held by the chief prosecutor,” it said in a written statement. The probe is still ongoing in Istanbul.
Turkish leaders, including Erdogan, have blamed Israel and its supporters for what they say is international media hostility to the country’s ruling party.
“This international media, as they are supported by Israel, would not be happy with the continuation of the AKP government,” the Turkish Daily News quoted Erdogan as saying this week. “Of course, they have their hands on Turkey nowadays.”
Erdogan was responding to The Economist’s endorsement of the opposition party ahead of next week’s elections.
The British newsweekly cited Erdogan’s crackdown on the media among other reasons to push back against what it said were his repressive measures.
Another minister, Egemen Bagıs, described “international dark elites who control the international media.”
JTA contributed to this report.