Turkey FM furious over leaked Gaza flotilla report as Israel-Turkey ties remain uncertain
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to hold press conference at 11:00 A.M. on Friday to discuss the leak of the report as well as the future of Israeli-Turkish ties.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday that he was furious about the leaking of the Palmer Report on the Gaza flotilla raid in May of 2010 in which Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish citizens, according to the Turkish newspaper “Today’s Zaman”.
Davutoglu alluded in talks with Turkish reporters that Turkey does not accept the report’s findings, that claimed that Israel Defense Forces soldiers on board the Mavi Marmara acted in self defense, but used excessive force.
Davutoglu will be holding a press conference at 11:00 A.M. on Friday to discuss the leak of the report as well as the future of Israeli-Turkish ties.
Davutoglu called UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to protest the leaking of the report to the New York Times on Thursday, the Turkish newspaper reported. Ban told the Turkish foreign minister that he too was caught off guard by the report’s premature release.
“Turkey’s position is strong enough that it can protect its citizens’ rights, no matter what is said,” Davutoglu said, adding that “there are many things in the report that are uncomfortable for Israel, but what is of more importance to us is that Israel has not complied with Turkey’s demand for an apology and compensation.”
Davutoglu’s comments come in the wake of warnings from senior Foreign Ministry officials that Turkey could respond to the report's publication by expelling the Israeli ambassador and scaling back diplomatic relations.
The Turkish foreign minister said Thursday that Friday's official release of the Palmer Report constitutes Israel's last chance to apologize for its raid on the Turkish-sponsored flotilla and warned of consequences, including sanctions, should Israel continue to refuse to apologize.
The UN-sponsored Palmer Report found that the Israeli commandos who boarded the Mavi Marmara on route to the Gaza Strip were met with "organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers," and so were "forced to use self defense."
However, the report, to be published officially Friday, found that the Israeli forces used "excessive and unreasonable force," and emphasized that the loss of life on board the ship is "unacceptable." Moreover, it found that the treatment of the passengers by the IDF soldiers after the interception was "abusive."
The Palmer report determined that the Israeli naval blockade on the Gaza Strip is legal, as "Israel faces a security threat from violent groups in Gaza."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israeli ministers on Thursday to refrain from commenting on the report or Israel’s relationship with Turkey. The Foreign Ministry is expected to release the government’s response to the report on Friday evening.