Turkish conference denounces Israeli attack on aid flotilla

All 22 countries participating in a conference in Istanbul save for Israel denounced the recent Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul stated at the final press conference that all but one of the countries participating in the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia criticized Israel’s action as a rude violation of international law and UN regulations. Israel, which also took part in the conference, prevented the group from issuing a joint declaration of condemnation.

Gul also said that 21 out of the 22 countries participating supported the decision to set up an independent investigation committee led by UN secretary general and called for lifting of the inhumane Gaza blockade as soon as possible. In addition, the Turkish president announced that the majority of the countries called on Israel to withdraw its troops from all Arab territories.

Last week nine Turkish nationals were killed by Israeli commandos during the raid on six ships of international humanitarian aid to Gaza. The attack was conducted in open waters.

Ankara has called on the Jewish state to agree to the UN-proposed international probe, but Israel has rejected the idea altogether, saying they will carry out their own investigation. This has sparked accusations that they have something to hide.

The Turkish Prime Minister has conducted a meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, which resulted in the signing of several important documents concerning bilateral relations.

Vladimir Putin said Russia had strongly condemned Israel for its actions.

“As for the Israel’s attack on the humanitarian convoy – we not only expressed our concerns, but also condemned these actions straight away. Our envoy to the UN made it clear in a direct statement on this issue. We condemn these actions. Unfortunately, the raid took place in international waters. Such actions are unacceptable when carried out against a peaceful vessel. But when they are undertaken in neutral waters – it raises special questions and needs detailed inquiry and investigation.”

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin holding media briefing

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Many say that the security summit could not have come at a better time with the scandal around the Israeli attacks on the international aid flotilla continuing to rage worldwide.

Vladimir Putin showed solidarity with the Turkish people and made it very clear that Russia sees the incident against the flotilla as an act against international law, said RT’s political commentator and CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle.

“The international community will proceed, will want a fair investigation. Israelis will not investigate themselves honestly,” Lavelle predicted.

“The US has to remember Turkey needs to be happy with its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. You have to keep Turkey happy and so hopefully the Obama administration will start really pushing hard on Netanyahu if they really want the so-called ‘peace process’ to go forward,” he added, saying that otherwise Turks will apply pressure in return.

Watch full interview with Peter Lavelle

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“Turkey, which was the closest friend of Israel in the Muslim world, has turned against Israel… so angrily that it is prepared to facilitate new ideas of collective punishment for Israel,” warned Professor Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh from Tarbiat Modarres University in Tehran.

However, Israel, being a member state of the organization, refused to send high-ranking officials to the summit which is believed to be Israel’s attempt at escaping responsibility.

Nine heads of state attend the summit, including the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas who has called for immediate action.

Also present at the summit is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who, as expected, has been the fiercest critic of Israel, saying that these actions showed the brutal and barbaric nature of Israel and that by attacking the flotilla Israel has raised a “flag of Satan”. He also suggested that future humanitarian aid to Gaza should be sent with the assistance of the Iranian Navy.

“The issue has come so far that even someone like Mahmoud Abbas in the Palestinian state has started initiatives of reconciliation with Hamas in Gaza,” Professor Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh noted.