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Turkish govâ€™t should block aid convoy to avert new crisis, CHP official says
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 798 days ago | Thursday, 14th April , 2011 , 06:31 [am] | Azerbaijan
|.|| Turkey should prioritize its own interests and the protection of its citizensâ€™ lives while evaluating its response to an Islamic charityâ€™s plan to send a new aid convoy to Gaza, a main opposition party official has said.
â€œWhat is important is
Turkey should prioritize its own interests and the protection of its citizensâ€™ lives while evaluating its response to an Islamic charityâ€™s plan to send a new aid convoy to Gaza, a main opposition party official has said.
â€œWhat is important is the interests of Turkey and not those of this civil-society organization,â€ Faruk LoÄŸoÄŸlu, a former ambassador who will run for Parliament from the ranks of the Republican Peopleâ€™s Party, or CHP, told the HÃ¼rriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Wednesday.
An international group led by Turkeyâ€™s Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or Ä°HH, plans to dispatch a flotilla of aid-carrying ships to Gaza in mid-June, in commemoration of last yearâ€™s deadly attack by Israeli commandos on an earlier convoy.
With general elections in the country rapidly approaching, domestic political considerations make it difficult for Turkey to avoid the new aid convoy to Gaza entirely, diplomatic sources said. They added, however, that Turkey could use its influence to keep the campaign low profile so as not to spark a new diplomatic crisis between Ankara and Tel Aviv.
â€œThis is a civil-society initiative and has an international dimension as well. We are still reviewing the situation,â€ a Turkish Foreign Ministry official told the Daily News on Wednesday. Israeli Ambassador Gaby Levy has officially asked Turkey not to allow the new Gaza-bound aid convoy, which he said Israel sees as a provocation.
LoÄŸoÄŸlu said the Turkish government should evaluate the situation under three principles. â€œThe first one is the responsibility of the government to protect its citizensâ€™ lives. The second one is to take last yearâ€™s experience into consideration and the last one is to analyze the missionâ€™s objective and to advise in an adequate way on its implementation,â€ he said, adding that the government cannot simply say that it the dispatching of the new flotilla is a civil-society move in which it has no influence.
Israelâ€™s raid May 31 on the previous flotilla of aid ships killed eight Turkish and one Turkish-American citizen and threw Turkey-Israel relations into turmoil.
Underscoring that any aid campaign to the Palestinians should be done in such a way so as not to create a new confrontation between Turkey and Israel, LoÄŸoÄŸlu suggested that conducting this campaign in line with Israeli rules would help the two countries mend ties following Turkeyâ€™s election.
It is unclear whether any political figures will sail onboard the flotilla in this yearâ€™s campaign as the departure point for the ships has not yet been announced.
US wants better ties
The United Statesâ€™ envoy in Ankara has meanwhile advised that Turkey and Israel, two important U.S. allies, reestablish good ties.
â€œTurkish-Israeli relations are among the most vitally important relationships in the eastern Mediterranean,â€ Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone said at a meeting Wednesday with the Diplomatic Correspondentsâ€™ Association. â€œTurkey and Israel are two strong democracies and two close friends of the United States. They need to communicate with each other. Thatâ€™s the relationship we care about.â€hurriyet, Voice of a Nation