Turkey to raise Israel's blockade at ICJ next week

ISTANBUL Sat Sep 3, 2011 11:35am EDT

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey said Saturday that it would apply next week for an investigation by the International Court of Justice into the legality of Israel's naval blockade of the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

Speaking to Turkish state-run television during a gathering of European foreign ministers in Poland, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also reiterated Turkey's support for efforts to win recognition for a Palestinian state through the United Nations.

Friday, Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador and froze military agreements with Israel after a U.N. report on the killing of nine Turks during an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound ship a year ago failed to trigger an apology from the Jewish state.

Aside from demanding an apology, and compensation for families, Turkey also insists Israel ends the blockade of Palestinians living in Gaza.

Israel says the blockade is needed to stop arms reaching militants from the Islamist Hamas movement that controls Gaza.

The U.N. report concluded that the blockade was "a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons entering Gaza by sea" .

Davutoglu said Turkey did not accept that conclusion, noting that it contradicted the U.N. Human Rights Council's findings.

"We will start the application process to International Court of Justice within the next week, for an investigation into what the Gaza blockade really is," Davutoglu told TRT news channel.

Turkey has also said it will pursue criminal cases against Israeli officials responsible for the killings of the nine Turks, one of whom was a U.S. citizen.

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, regarded as a hero in the Muslim world for championing the Palestinian cause, is expected to go to Egypt later this month for a visit that could deepen the rift with Israel.

There is speculation that Erdogan might go to Gaza through Egypt's Rafah border crossing to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

While both Turkey and Israel are allies of the West, the two have become estranged in recent years, largely because of the Palestinian issue.

A Turkish official said there were tentative plans for Erdogan to visit Egypt on September 12, and, without specifying where, the official said Erdogan might go to another location during the trip.

Davutoglu warned Israel that the democratic forces unleashed by the Arab Spring would stoke animosity toward the Jewish state unless it changed its policies.

"Israel has to make a choice, the Arab Spring will bring about a significant enmity against Israel if it fails to change its attitude regarding regional issues," Davutoglu told TRT news

channel.

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing by Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing by Rosalind Russell)

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Comments (6)
amos033 wrote:
Gaza is not an independant state. Turkey has no right to send ships to Gaza in a blantant attempt to run the blockade. Turkey ought to apologize to Israel and pay damages and costs that Israel had to incur due to Recep Erdogan sending that goon ship. The USA ought to expell the turkish ambassador to the USA until Turkey apologizes for sending that goon ship.

Sep 03, 2011 12:12pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
DSI wrote:
Turkey didn’t send any ships to Gaza. It was an independent ship run by some humanitarian foundation. Case here is not the Israil attacking Turkish ships. It is that while trying to stop the ship, they chose to board to ship and that caused the disaster. Appearently, in that dark, civilians in the ship thought they were being boarded by troops with assualt rifles and they grabbed whatever they can and attacked them. What I see here is actions from both sides that are not thought thoroughly. And by both sides, I mean people on the ship, their organizers, and Israeli troops. Both countries’ political games in the aftermath, I could care less. 9 people died and no game will bring them back.

Sep 03, 2011 12:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
seagull84 wrote:
The UN, Human Rights Watch and many other international bodies and NGOs consider Israel to be the occupying power of the Gaza Strip as Israel controls Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters. Occupation itself is illegal, naval blockade by Israel is one of the form of occupation, of course it is illegal.
It is shame beyond scale that only Turkey such a miniscule country dares to challenge this rogue state Israel in whole world.

Sep 03, 2011 1:05pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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