Turkey: We Expect Formal Apology, Compensation From Israel Over Gaza Flotilla

Turkish president addressed UN general assembly and praised UN report on Gaza flotilla raid, which says Israeli forces violated international law.

Turkey is still waiting for an apology from Israel over the Gaza flotilla raid, Turkish president Abdullah Gul told the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday.

The UN Human Rights Commission released a report on the incident on Wednesday. The report, compiled by three United Nations appointed human rights experts, said that Israeli forces violated international law when they raided a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, killing nine activists, earlier this year.

Turkey's President Abdullah Gul, Reuters, Sept. 23, 2010
Reuters

Gul said that he still expects Israel to pay monetary compensation to the families of those killed in the raid, which he said was a scathing infraction of international law.

"In the light of international law, Turkey's expectation is a formal apology and compensation for the aggrieved families of the victims and the injured people," Gul said.

The UN Human Rights Council's fact-finding mission concluded that Israel's naval blockade of the Palestinian territory was unlawful because of the humanitarian crisis there, and described the military raid on the flotilla as brutal and disproportionate.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry responded to the report late Wednesday by saying the Human Rights Council had a biased, politicized and extremist approach. They have since said that will "study" the report.

Gul lauded United States President Barack Obama's efforts to encourage the Israelis and Palestinians to resume direct peace talks.

However, he cautioned: "It would be very difficult to make progress towards permanent peace unless we put an end to the humanitarian tragedy in Gaza."

Earlier on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu praised Gaza flotilla report, telling Anatolia news agency that it report was fair, impartial and used strong evidence.

"We expected the council to release a strong report based on strong evidence, and in this sense the report met our expectations," said Davutoglu. "We hope that Israel will learn to use language of international law and act in line with it."

The Human Rights Council's report was compiled by former UN war crimes prosecutor Desmond de Silva, Trinidadian judge Karl T. Hudson-Phillips and Malaysian women's rights advocate Mary Shanthi Dairiam.

The Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, was re-established in 2006 by then UN Security General, Kofi Annan, following accusations that its predecessor, the UN Commission on Human Rights, openly and systematically discriminated against Israel.

But the new body has also passed several resolutions condemning Israel over the past few years, especially for its actions in the Palestinian territories, and is often of accused of unfair bias against Israel.