Activists on one of aid ships

Violent protests in Turkey; Israeli envoy summoned

Turkish TV stations say police have blocked dozens of stone-throwing protesters who tried to storm Israeli Consulate in Istanbul over IDF attack on aid ships to Gaza. Israeli ambassador ordered to arrive at Foreign Ministry

Turkish police blocked dozens of stone-throwing protesters who tried to storm the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul over reports of an Israeli attack on at least one aid ship in international waters on Monday, news channels reported.


CNN-Turk and NTV showed dozens of angry protesters scuffling with Turkish police guarding the consulate in downtown Istanbul.


"Damn Israel," the protesters shouted.


Turkey summoned the Israeli ambassador to the foreign ministry to discuss the incident, which heightened tensions between Turkey and Israel to new levels.


It was also reported that Turkey warned Israel against "unprecedented and incomprehensible ramifications."


Due to the events, the Foreign Ministry plans to call on Israelis staying in Turkey to return to Israel, and on Israelis planning to travel to Turkey to cancel their trip. Israel is also planning to demand that Ankara take responsibility for all Israelis on its territory.


The Israeli military denied that its forces attacked the boats but said they would enforce the decision to keep them away from Gaza.


Two TV networks reported earlier that Israeli warships attacked the six ships carrying pro-Palestinian activists and aid for blockaded Gaza, killing at least 10 and wounding an unknown number of people on board.


"We were not expecting such an operation in international waters," Omer Faruk Korkmaz, an official of the pro-Islamic aid group, IHH, that led the aid shipment said in Turkey. "Israel has been caught redhanded and the international community will not forgive it."


Korkmaz said the ship was being escorted to Haifa.


The al-Jazeera network reported that senior Turkish officials were expected to convene an emergency meeting to discuss their stand regarding what they referred to as "the Israli attack on the freedom sail."


The Turkish protest against Israel began on Sunday evening, as hundreds of protestors gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in Ankara and the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul in order to protest "the Israeli acts of provocation against the sail."


On Sunday evening, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected Israeli claims about the Turkish link to the sail. He said the boats, carrying aid to the Gaza Strip, had nothing to do with the Turkish government.


"It's an international civilian act," he said during a visit to Brazil. "This step has only been taken for humanitarian purposes. I think there will be no problem if Israel shows a humanitarian stance towards the humanitarian aid."


פרסום ראשון: 05.31.10, 07:38
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