Posts Tagged ‘turkey’
Strong word during his visit to Turkey, The Guardian reports:
David Cameron: Israeli blockade has turned Gaza Strip into a ‘prison camp’
Prime minister intervenes in Middle East dispute and hopes Turkey can stop Iran’s nuclear weapons programme
David Cameron used a visit to Turkey to make his strongest intervention yet in the intractable Middle East conflict today when he likened the experience of Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip to that of a “prison camp”.
Although he has made similar remarks before, his decision to repeat them on a world stage in Turkey, whose relations with Israel have deteriorated sharply since it mounted a deadly assault on the Gaza flotilla, gave them much greater diplomatic significance.
Cameron’s comments, in a speech to business leaders in Ankara, prompted the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to issue another strong condemnation of how Israel dealt with the flotilla.
Erdogan likened the behaviour of Israeli commandos, who shot dead nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists, to Somali pirates.
Cameron’s criticism of Tel Aviv came when he called for Israel to relax its restrictions on Gaza. “The situation in Gaza has to change,” he said. “Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp.”
He strongly condemned Israel after the assault on the Gaza flotilla. “The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable,” he said. “I have told prime minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu we will expect the Israeli inquiry to be swift, transparent and rigorous. “Let me also be clear that the situation in Gaza has to change.”
Cameron defended his remarks at a press conference with Erdogan. “My description of Gaza is something I said in the House of Commons several weeks ago. Perhaps this is final proof that if you want to keep something completely secret you should announce it in the House of Commons.”
Hansard, the House of Commons’ official record, shows Cameron said on 28 June: “Everybody knows that we are not going to sort out the problem of the Middle East peace process while there is, effectively, a giant open prison in Gaza.”
His choice of the words “prison camp” instead of “open prison” is likely to be seized upon. But a Downing Street source later tried to play down Cameron’s comments. “This is not an elevation of the rhetoric. This is equivalent language. The prime minister remains concerned.”
Cameron said Britain remained opposed to the blockade of Gaza. “The fact is we have long supported lifting the blockade of Gaza, we have long supported proper humanitarian access. Even though some progress has been made we are still in the situation where it is very difficult to get in, it is very difficult to get out. So I think the description is warranted.”
Read more at The Guardian… (including the objections)
Post-flotilla, Juan Cole looks at the diplomatic situation between Turkey and Israel:
As Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu flew to Washington, DC, on Monday, a further war of words has broken out between Turkey and Israel over comments made by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to the press corps on an airplane returning from Kyrgyzstan. The Zaman correspondent heard him to say of Israel, “It will either apologize, or it will consent to a study by an international commission, or the relations will break off.”
Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister whom Davutoglu apparently declines to deal with, shot back, “We don’t have any intention to apologize. We think that the opposite is true.” Lieberman, a notorious thug who once advocated drowning all the Egyptians by bombing the Aswan Dam if they ever gave Israel any trouble, is a Moldavian immigrant to Israel not known for being diplomatic.
Davutoglu is probably not serious about presenting Israel with an ultimatum, and may have been especially interested in posturing as a hard liner because he was embarrassed with the Turkish cabinet and in the Arab world when it came out that he had had a secret meeting with Israeli Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer last week. Ben-Eliezer, an Iraqi from Basra originally named “Fuad,” had earlier in his career been a hard liner, but compared to Lieberman he has emerged as a voice of reason. Davutoglu was widely criticized in Turkey and Arab capitals for the secret talks.
Reading PSC is proud to launch our online fundraising effort for the next Convoy to Gaza – a flotilla of 10 ships sailing from Turkey, Cyprus, Ireland, Greece and Belgium.
Use our Interactive-Cement-Bag™ to donate as many 25kg bags of cement as you can to the people of Gaza – even one £3 bag will make a huge difference:
The Turkish organisation that was involved with Viva Palestina Convoy 3 is organising a sea-based convoy to Gaza:
The IHH (along with Viva Palestina) broke the Gaza embargo with an overland convoy and now IHH are preparing to break it via sea route with the Free Gaza Movement.
I.H.H. now have a cargo ship of 3,200 tons to be filled with building supplies and medical aid for Gaza. They decided rather than many small boats that a large cargo ship is more suitable. Countries taking part in the boat convoy are Turkey, U.K., Ireland, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kuwait, Qatar and Jordon. The total number so far of ships taking part is 10.
A short interview about the boat convoy is on Remember Palestine this week on Press T.V. Tuesday 19.00 and repeated on Saturday at 12.05.