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Erdogan.'We won't sit silent'
Photo: AFP
Erdogan: We won't remain silent
Turkish prime minister slams Israeli government over 'pirate behavior, wrongdoings,' stresses Ankara will not stay silent following raid, will search for solutions within international law

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that Ankara does not itend on sitting idly by following the Navy's raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla. "The Turkish government's problem is with the Israeli government, not with Israeli citizens," he said.

 

"There are groups expecting Turkey to stay silent and take in Israel's pirate conduct in the Mediterranean Sea and its political terrorism," Erdogan said during a Justice and Development Party conference in Ankara. "We did not sit silent faced with its pirate behavior and wrongdoings and we do no intend on remaining silent. We shall look for solutions within the international law."

 

The recent crisis with Turkey has prompted many Israelis to cancel their vacation in the country. Earlier this week, Turkish Airlines announced its plan to cancel a number of flights this month due to low sales on the Tel Aviv-Istanbul route.

 

The airline noted that only a few Israeli businessmen still fly with it to various Turkish destinations, whereas other Israeli passengers travel with it to the Far East, Europe and North America. The airline's Israel CEO said that since the raid Israelis have been banning the company and sales have dropped by 50%.

 

In respect to Iran, Erdogan said that Turkey's stance has nothing to do with Israel, the international flotilla or its relations with the US. "We have reached an agreement with Tehran which meets the American president's conditions under the patronage of Mr. Lula da Silva, president of Brazil."

 

He added that he told US President Barack Obama that should Tehran fail to meet the agreement's conditions it will lose Turkey and Brazil's support. "But Iran has fulfilled its promises and sent them to the IAEA. Unfortunately, the IAEA responded to them only on the morning of the UN's sanctions resolution."

 

On Friday, Israel warned the UN that the security situation in the Middle East may be undermined as result of a Lebanese flotilla planning to head to the Gaza Strip.

 

In a letter relayed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev said the "provocative" sail may affect security in the entire region.

 

Hezbolla, on its part, said it did not assist the Lebanese flotilla "so as not to give Israel an excuse to attack participants."

 

The first boat, Naji el-Ali, is set to leave Beirut with 25 European activists onboard, including parliament members and some 50 journalists, including humanitarian equipment.

 

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