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Westerwelle: Germany 'very worried' about flotilla row

AFP · 3 Sep 2011, 15:31

Published: 03 Sep 2011 15:31 GMT+02:00

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German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Berlin was "very worried by the recent dispute," and urged immediate dialogue by "all parties" to seek a solution.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon, senior European foreign ministers and officials in Washington all urged the one-time allies to end their increasingly poisonous dispute that they worried could impact on the wider Middle East.

"I sincerely hope that Israel and Turkey will improve their relationship," Ban told reporters in the Australian capital Canberra.

"Both countries are very important countries in the region and their improving relationship, normal relationship, will be very important in addressing all the situations in the Middle East, including the Middle East peace process."

The UN leader said he had been trying to help the countries improve their relationship since May 31, 2010 when Israeli troops boarded a Gaza aid flotilla, leading to the deaths of nine people including eight Turks.

Turkey pulled its ambassador out of Tel Aviv in the immediate aftermath of the raid, but on Friday Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced that diplomatic ties would be further downgraded after a UN probe slammed the "excessive" force used in the raid, for which Israel has failed to apologise.

As well as announcing the Israeli ambassador Gaby Levy was being expelled, Davutoglu also said all bilateral military agreements were being suspended.

Davutoglu spent Saturday with his European Union counterparts, who sent a clear message they wanted an end to the spat.

"Our wishes are like those of the UN secretary general, who said that this dispute between Israel and Turkey must be resolved through dialogue and mutual understanding, not via other means," French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told reporters at an informal meeting in the Polish Baltic Sea port of Sopot.

There were also similar calls to mend fences from Washington.

The United States "has longstanding friendships with both Israel and Turkey", said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, urging the two sides "to look for opportunities to improve their longstanding relationship".

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Davutoglu himself refused all comment at the talks in Poland.

The Turkish measures came after a UN-mandated report criticised Israeli troops for using "excessive" and "unreasonable" force when boarding the ferry Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010.

It added, however, that the flotilla "acted recklessly in attempting to breach the naval blockade," and the Israeli forces "faced significant, organised and violent resistance from a group of passengers".

The report's release was delayed several times because of the failure of Turkey and Israel to agree a final version. It was finally handed to Ban on Friday.

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Your comments about this article

21:23 September 3, 2011 by bluebirdy
Calling Israel the "Jewish state" might not go so well with the country's non-Jewish population, huh?
02:04 September 4, 2011 by wood artist
Israel is quite open about being a theocracy, so while some people there might not like it, that doesn't make it untrue. The leadership regularly refers to the country as a "Jewish state" or even "the only Jewish state." And, for example, if you're not Jewish, you can't get legally married in Israel. They do recognize marriages from other countries...but....

The real problem here, unrelated to Turkey or Germany or any other country is that neither side in this dispute really wants peace. If they did, they could talk things over. Instead they both do things that promise to upset the "other side."

06:12 September 4, 2011 by DOZ
Turkey must stick to it's position, or be known as a week Islamic Country. The Islamist World knows that it must not barter it's position anymore for a few bags of fools-gold. Time for the West to wake up to the second coming, as your reign of terror around the Globe is coming to an end.
08:42 September 4, 2011 by marimay
Turkey has the right of this. Had the Israeli's killed any of the people from the western ("christian") countries on this flotilla, they would have apologized long ago I do not doubt it. Turkey has tried to make amends. All they want is an apology for the deaths of its citizens in international water. Not apologizing is just disgusting.
11:34 September 4, 2011 by storymann
Turkey in 2011 is not the same Turkey as a decade ago. Gone is the pro-Western and diplomatically responsible foreign partner familiar to those engaged in the Arab-Israeli peace process. In its place is a regime whose public rhetoric increasingly resembles that of the most hardline Arab states.
13:33 September 4, 2011 by Englishted

Fair enough ,just give the parts of mainland Europe you took from Greece back.

Then make your own way as a third world country who will not try to join the E.U. and will leave N.A.T.O.

We are not to worried.

p.s. Who's second coming ?.
13:47 September 4, 2011 by marimay
Whats Greece going to do with it? Sell it to Germany?
01:37 September 5, 2011 by FaisalAmin
you boys no nothing about Turkey. Turkey is part of G20.

check this video. in Youtube

02:55 September 5, 2011 by btightontwice
At the end is that these Turkist "activists" had no aid on board and were attempting to storm a legal blockade. They made the decision. Good luck with climbing the wall from Mexico to the US. You are shot. They chose the course of action and they chose the consequences.
07:23 September 5, 2011 by marimay
Um, you climb the "wall" from mexico to the US you are not shot. Sorry to burst your bubble.

I see the media has you fooled as usual.
19:19 September 5, 2011 by Major B
Storyman is correct. Turkey is fast losing its legitimacy as a secular country.

The current government seems intent on shedding the wisdom of Attaturk and joining the Islamic fundamentalist cabal. Fine then. Agree with Englisted too.

Israel has nothing too fear from Turkey. There will NEVER be another Armenia and this will be no Cypruss repeat either. Better to stay out of the active Palestinian support infrasturcture but if it insists, it had indeed better tread carefully.
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