Turkey remains “a friend to Israel,” but the government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “the biggest barrier to peace” in the Middle East, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
In an in interview with PBS television’s Charlie Rose aired late Monday, Erdogan called on the US to take a leading role in dealing with the aftermath of Israel’s May 31 commando raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, during which nine Turkish naitonals were killed.
"The US administration should take ownership of the situation because there was an American involved,” Erdogan said, referring to Furkan Dogan, a 19-year-old American- Turkish dual citizen who was killed on board the Mavi Marmara vessel.
The Turkish PM reiterated Ankara's position regarding Hamas, according to which the Islamist group should be given an opportunity to govern the Palestinian people.
"Elections were held, and Hamas won the election. They should have been given the opportunity to govern, because when that didn’t happen, there was a loss of confidence, trust, and that created problems,” he said.
Meanwhile, IHH, the Turkish NGO that organized the sail to Gaza, released a report Wednesday saying the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla was a pre-mediated "terrorist" attack motivated by hostility.
"Israel exhibited an example of illegal action by stopping the attempts for breaking the embargo in Gaza which is a collective punishment of Palestinians," the report said.
IHH accused the Israeli troops of "killing unarmed civilian humanitarian aid volunteers by directly opening fire on them. Obviously, (the) current Israeli government performed a planned terrorist attack to kill out of nothing but hostility."
"During this terrorist attack nine people have lost their lives and around 50 aid activists have been wounded," said the report, adding that, "The attack carried out against the flotilla is an attack on all humanity and peace."