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Turkish FM Davutoglu Photo: AP
Turkish FM Davutoglu Photo: AP
 
Turkish police guard Israeli ambassador's home Photo: AP
Turkish police guard Israeli ambassador's home Photo: AP
 
 

Turkey to normalize Israel ties if Gaza blockade ends

In wake of lethal raid on aid flotilla, FM Davutogu tells reporters it's time 'calm replaces anger,' but also calls for international commission to investigate deaths. Interior minister says Turkey beefed up security to protect Jewish minority

News agencies
Published: 06.02.10, 14:33 / Israel News

Turkey said on Wednesday it was ready to normalize ties with Israel if the Jewish state lifts a blockade on Gaza and said "it was time calm replaces anger" in the wake of Israel's deadly raid on a Turkish-backed flotilla.

 

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutogu, in Ankara after a visit to the United States to discuss the diplomatic crisis, also told a news conference that the future of Turkish-Israeli ties depended on Israel's attitude. Turkey recalled its ambassador to Israel following Monday's storming of Gaza bound aid ships.

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Davutogu also called for an international commission to investigate the deaths on the Gaza aid ship flotilla, and its foreign minister said Israel has agreed to release all Turks involved in clash.

 

He said 210 Turks were scheduled to be flown home from Israel on Turkish planes later Wednesday. He said Israel also assured Turkey it would not put any Turkish protesters on trial.

 

"We have clearly stated that we would review our ties with Israel if all Turks not released by the end of the day," Davutoglu said. "All citizens of foreign countries will be set free."

 

'We will not leave them to the mercy of anyone'

Israel's raid on a flotilla of aid ships that carried about 400 Turks dramatically escalated tensions with Turkey. The attack killed nine people, including at least four Turks. Turkey withdrew its ambassador and scrapped war games with Israel as a result.

 

"No one has the right to try people who were kidnapped in international waters," Davutoglu told a news conference.

 

There was no way to immediately reconcile the different numbers of Turks said to be involved in the Gaza operation.

 

The foreign minister, however, said two Turkish citizens who were in serious condition will remain in Israeli hospitals with a Turkish doctor.

 

"We will not leave them to the mercy of anyone," Davutoglu said.

 

Earlier Wednesday, Interior Minister Besir Atalay said Turkey has beefed up security to protect its Jewish minority as well as Israel's diplomatic missions amid the tensions.

 

He said security was increased at 20 points alone in Istanbul, which has several synagogues and centers serving 23,000 Jews. Israel has ordered the families of Israeli diplomats out of Turkey.

 

The move came as hundreds of Turks protested against Israel's commando raids on the ships for a third day Wednesday.

 

Reuters and AP contributed to the report

 

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