Turkey expels Israeli envoy in flotilla report row
Ankara, Sep 2: Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador to Ankara today and suspended all military ties with its one-time ally after a UN report slammed the "excessive" force used in a raid on a Gaza aid flotilla.
A day after leaked extracts of the report into last year's commando raid appeared in the media, Turkey's foreign minister said that the government in Ankara had decided on a series of steps as a mark of protest.
And although the report has yet to be released, Turkey's President Abdullah Gul said that Ankara would reject it, regarding it as "null and void".
The Israeli government meanwhile indicated it would accept most of the findings, but claimed vindication over its right to impose a blockade on the Palestinian territory which is run by Hamas.
Turkey pulled its ambassador out of Tel Aviv in the immediate aftermath of the raid and, speaking at a press conference in Ankara, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said ties would now be further downgraded.
"All officials over the level of second secretary, primarily the ambassador, will turn back to their country at the latest on Wednesday," he said.
"Second, all the military agreements between Israel and Turkey are suspended."
The foreign minister also said Ankara planned to challenge Israel's right to impose a blockade on the Gaza Strip before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the United Nations' highest court.
The measures announced by Turkey came after a leaked copy of the UN-mandated report criticised Israeli troops for using "excessive" and "unreasonable" force when boarding the ferry Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010, leading to the deaths of nine people. AFP
Lastupdate on : Fri, 2 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 2 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 3 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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