DTN News - TURKEY ISRAEL DEFENSE NEWS: Turkey Expels Israel's Ambassador, Cuts Military Ties Over UN Report
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - September 3, 2011: Turkey has expelled Israel's ambassador to Ankara. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced Ankara's expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, along with a suspension of all military agreements with Israel, in a short statement to the media.
He said Turkey is reducing its relations with Israel to the level of second secretary, and expects the ambassador to leave by Wednesday.
The expulsion comes after details were leaked of a U.N. report into the killing last year by Israeli forces of nine Turks who were taking part in a flotilla of ships seeking to break Israel's economic blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Ankara gave Friday, the day the U.N. report is to be officially released, as the deadline for an apology from Jerusalem and for the payment of compensation to the families of those killed. Davutoglu blamed divisions in the Israeli government for its failure to meet Turkey's demands.
Turkey met four times with the Israelis, he said, and on two occasions reached an agreement to which the Israeli prime minister agreed, but not the Israeli Cabinet.
The Turkish foreign minister said his government will now provide full support to the families of those killed to pursue prosecution of any Israeli military or government members responsible for the deaths.
The U.N. report said excessive force was used by Israel. It also said some of those killed were shot in the back and at close quarters. But the report also defended Israel's right to enforce its economic embargo on Gaza. That finding is strongly condemned by the Turkish government. President Abdullah Gul strongly condemned the report.