UNIFIL soldier at northern border
Photo: AFP

Turkey extends UNIFIL mandate

Turkish troops to remain in multinational taskforce on Israel-Lebanon border for one more year

Ties between Jerusalem and Ankara are at an all-time low, but despite this, the Turks plan to continue taking part in the force that defends Israel's northern border.


The Turkish parliament on Thursday decided to extend by one year its country's troops' participation in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). This is Turkey's fourth extension of its mandate in Lebanon since the participation of Turkish troops was first approved in September 2006.


Turkey is the first Muslim country to send forces to the multinational taskforce. UNIFIL, which includes 13,000 reserve soldiers, was established in 1978, and since then has stationed its forces along the Israel- Lebanon border. Following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the body reinforced its troops on the border.


Turkey's contribution to UNIFIL includes some 1,000 soldiers and several warships, which are meant to prevent the smuggling of arms to Hezbollah.


Following the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla, in which nine Turkish citizens were killed, relations between Israel and Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government have hit a historic low.


Last week the Turkish prime minister said, "The Turkish government's problem is with the Israeli government, not with Israeli citizens."


He added, "We did not sit silent faced with (Israel's) pirate behavior and wrongdoings and we do no intend on remaining silent. We shall look for solutions within the international law."


פרסום ראשון: 06.24.10, 16:35
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