U.N. reiterates call for international probe on flotilla attack

U.N. reiterates call for international probe on flotilla attack
# 19 June 2010 17:43 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. The United Nations has asserted that an internal inquiry ordered by Israel is not a substitute for an international probe into the deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla on May 31, APA reports quoting The Hindu.

In an interaction with the media on Friday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took note of the internal inquiry set up by Israel on the flotilla incident, but said that such an investigation would lack “international credibility”. “My position is that there should be international credibility of their investigation. I know that there are going to be two international observers [in the Israeli investigation]. But what I have heard from most of the countries is that it is not sufficient enough to have international credibility,” Mr. Ban said.

The Secretary-General explained that he was looking for establishing a U.N. commission with an Israeli and Turkish component in it. He added that Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan had accepted his proposal, but discussions with Israel had so far been inconclusive.

“I’m still in the process of discussing this matter with Israeli authorities — how to make the Israeli domestic investigation with international credibility and dimension.”

On its part, Turkey has reiterated that it would continue to investigate the Israeli attack on Mavi Marmara, the Turkish flagged aid ship that Israeli commandos attacked in international waters. Nine people, including eight Turks and an American of Turkish origin were killed in the attack.

“We have not remained silent against this piracy and injustice, and we will not do so, and we will seek solutions within the frame work of international law,” Mr. Erdogan told reporters in Ankara.

Mr. Erdogan’s assertion suggests considerable bitterness that has crept in Turkish-Israeli relations.

Turkish daily Zaman has reported that Ankara has now decided to freeze defence deals worth billions of dollars with Israel. These include a $ 5 billion dollar contract for the purchase of hundreds of Israeli-built Merkava Mark III tanks. Turkey has already recalled its ambassador from Israel, and has demanded an Israeli apology for the raid on the ship.

Monument in Istanbul

A decision has also been taken to establish a stone monument in Istanbul in memory of the nine who were killed in the attack. The names of the dead would be etched on the structure, marble for which would be drawn from the Marmara Sea.

The rift in Turkey’s ties with Israel now threatens to sour relations between Ankara and Washington. Key supporters of the Israeli-right in the United States are now demanding with full force, Turkey’s phased exit from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). “Turkey, as a member of NATO, is privy to intelligence information having to do with terrorism and with Iran. If Turkey finds its best friends to be Iran, Hamas, Syria and Brazil [look for Venezuela in the future] the security of that information [and Western technology in weapons in Turkey’s arsenal] is suspect,’’ says the June 8 report of the influential Washington based, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). The report of the pro-Israeli group adds that the U.S. should now “seriously consider suspending military cooperation with Turkey as a prelude to removing it from the organisation”.