Report: Turkey Mulls Suspending Israel Ties Over Gaza Flotilla

Ankara is looking to punish Israel for its raid last month on the Gaza-bound ship that left nine Turkish activists dead, according to a report in Turkish paper Haber Turk.

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Barak Ravid
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ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

The Turkish government is discussing ways to punish Israel for its raid last month on the Gaza-bound ship that left nine Turkish activists dead, according to a report published Tuesday in the newspaper Haber Turk.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a press conference at the international airport in Santiago, Monday May 31, 2010. Credit: AP

According to the report, Turkey is considering the possibility of suspending diplomatic ties with Israel, although senior Foreign Ministry officials said Tuesday that they have yet to receive any such information from official sources.

The report also said that Turkish government officials focused heavily on frayed ties with Israel during a meeting on Tuesday, in which there were repeated calls for an international inquiry into the incident as well as demands for an official Israeli apology. Some lawmakers also suggested leveling sanctions against Israel.

Turkey recalled its ambassador in the wake of Israel's raid on the Mavi Marmara ship on May 31. While a new envoy was meant to arrive in Israel, Ankara has thus far not dispatched an ambassador.

The Haber Turk report also said that some officials suggested requiring Israeli tourists to enter the country with visas, which are currently not required.

Other Turkish officials suggested forbidding Israeli ships from docking at Turkish ports and even suspending naval cooperation between the two countries.

Steps taken by Turkey may also include canceling cooperation in civil matters including education, culture, sports and agreements related to economic and trade cooperation.

Trade Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer on Tuesday spoke out against Israeli efforts to boycott Turkish products, saying, "I refuse to accept using boycotts and a means of [applying] political pressure. Such a deterioration will also harm the many Israeli companies that despite the crisis continue to have productive economic ties with Turkey."

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