Turkey has warned that its relationship with Israel has been severely damaged after at least nine people died when troops stormed ships trying to break the Gaza blockade.
The Turkish government has long been Israel’s main regional ally but called the raid an act of state terrorism and has accused Israel of violating international law.
This is not the first time Turkey has acknowledged Israel as being a terrorist state. Back in 2004 a similar state was made which I have below:
Turkish PM accuses Israel of practising state terrorism
The army was also responsible for the widespread destruction of Palestinian houses in Rafah, which left about 1,600 people homeless. Yesterday, the military continued the demolitions, with more than 40 homes destroyed in Rafah camp this week.
Ha’aretz asked Mr Erdogan – who recently defined three kinds of terrorism: personal, institutional and state – if he believed Israel was practising “state terrorism.” He replied: “When you look at the structure of what has happened, how else can you interpret it?”
Mr Erdogan noted that Turkey had welcomed Jews driven out of Spain by the inquisition.
“Jews were the victims at that time. Today, the Palestinians are the victims, and unfortunately the people of Israel are treating the Palestinians as they were treated 500 years ago. Bombing people – civilians – from helicopters, killing people without any considerations – children, women, the elderly – razing their buildings with bulldozers.”
Turkey has long had close relations with Israel, including military and intelligence cooperation. In recent years Israeli arms manufacturers have sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of weapons to Turkey, and the two countries agreed a multibillion dollar deal to ship water to the Jewish state.
The Israeli government was shaken last week by press reports that Mr Erdogan had instructed Turkey’s security establishment not to sign new weapons contracts and to scale down military and intelligence cooperation.
The government in Ankara has previously been critical of the Israeli assassinations of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and other Hamas leaders in Gaza, and said it believed Mr Sharon was not interested in a negotiated peace.
Mr Erdogan reiterated the point yesterday. “We are in favour of the peace process being regenerated, and the gov ernment of Israel has not contributed to our efforts to do so.”
The Israeli government did not respond directly to the comments. But the foreign ministry referred to a statement it issued this week after Mr Erdogan met the Israeli infrastructure minister, Joseph Paritzky, and asked what the difference wasbetween Palestinians who kill Israeli civilians and the Israeli army, which also kills civilians.
The foreign ministry described those remarks as unfortunate. “The blame for the standstill in the peace process can be placed squarely at the door of the Palestinian terrorist organisations, whose murderous actions have taken the lives of over 900 innocent Israelis in the last three and a half years,” it said.
“Turkey, a state that has itself suffered for many years from the cruel effects of terrorism, could be expected to show more understanding and solidarity for Israel’s struggle to defend itself.”