Turkey is preparing to challenge
Israel’s blockade on Gaza at the International Court of Justice (ICJ),
foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Saturday. Davutoglu’s comments came a
day after Turkey expelled the Israel’s ambassador and severed
military ties with the country, angered over its refusal to
apologize for last year’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla
that killed nine pro-Palestinian activists.
In an interview with Turkey’s
state-run TRT television, Davutoglu dismissed a UN report into the
raid that said Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was a legal
security measure. Davutoglu said the report — prepared by former
New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and former Colombian
President Alvaro Uribe, and presented to UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon — was not endorsed by the UN and was therefore not
“What is binding is the
International Court of Justice. This is what we are saying: let
the International Court of Justice decide", news agency Associated
Press quoted Davutoglu as saying.
“We are starting the necessary legal
procedures this coming week,” he added.
Davutoglu said the UN report
released Friday contradicted an earlier report on the Gaza
flotilla incident which found that Israeli forces violated
international law when they raided the flotilla. That report was
prepared in September by three human rights experts appointed by
the UN’s top human rights body. He also warned Israel that it
risks alienation among Arab nations by resisting an apology.
“If Israel persists with its current
position, the Arab spring will give rise to a strong Israel
opposition as well as the debate on the authoritarian regimes,”
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister
Danny Ayalon however said his country has nothing to apologize for and
that it has done all it could to avoid a crisis with Turkey. He
said the Turks apparently intended to raise tensions with Israel
for its own reasons.