Turkey’s foreign ministry on Monday denounced as “unacceptable” an Israeli attack on an aid convoy bound for Gaza which killed at least 10 people, summoning Israel’s ambassador to discuss the incident and bringing already tense relations between the countries to new levels.
The ministry said that Israel had violated International law and must now carry the consequences.
“[The interception on the convoy] is unacceptable … Israel will have to endure the consequences of this behavior,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Murat Mercan, a lawmaker from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party, said: “I was expecting an intervention. I was not expecting bloodshed, the use of arms and bullets.”
“Israel is engaged in activity that will extremely hurt its image,” he said.
Following the events, the Turkish government called emergency meetings, Channel 10 reported.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering the cancellation of his imminent trip to the United States, in wake of the deaths of at least 10 people after Israel Navy troops boarded a flotilla of ships heading to the Gaza Strip carrying aid.
Turkish police blocked dozens of stone-throwing protesters who tried to storm the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul over reports of an Israeli attack on at least one aid ship in international waters on Monday, news channels reported.
CNN-Turk and NTV showed dozens of angry protesters scuffling with Turkish police guarding the consulate in downtown Istanbul.
“Damn Israel,” the protesters shouted.
Hours after the takeover of the Gaza aid ships, Israeli ministers are trying to subdue the flames. Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke with the Turkish defense minister, foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu and the Turkish ambassador to Israel.
Barak, who held an emergency meeting with IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, also spoke with Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently on an official visit to Canada, is receiving updates on the situation.
In addition, Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who is currently in Qatar, told Ynet, “It was obvious to all that this was a media provocation, aimed at reaching a confrontation with Israel. Anyone who didn’t realize this – did not know what they were talking about. We are not Shiite suicide attackers, and it is the soldiers’ duty to defend themselves.”
Just in case you weren’t sure of the miracle that is Israel, here’s French writer Bernard-Henri Levy speaking at a Tel Aviv conference in the last days:
I’ve covered many wars, and I’ve never seen an army that asks itself so many questions related to morals. There is a demonization campaign against Israel all over the world. In a region where dictatorships and truly fascist regimes rule, Israel represents an island of democracy. Zionism is the only movement that has not failed and turned into a caricature. It is the only movement that has preserved its spirit. Israel is a miracle because since its inception it has been in a constant state of war, yet it never gave up on the democratic values at its core.
His comments are laughable, not least because the occupation simply doesn’t exist in his lexicon. Perhaps he should read the Free Gaza Twitter feed to get a nice sense of Israeli democracy.