29 June 2010
Speaking on American television, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has demanded that Israel apologize for its blockade of the Gaza Strip and the raid of a Turkish ship four weeks in which nine people were killed. Erdogan said in an interview that such an apology would be a condition to continued Turkish mediation in any future peace talks between Israel and Syria. "Israel should issue an apology because of what has happened with the more recent events and compensate for the people and Gaza, which is like an open-air prison, must not remain so, and the blockades must be lifted. As long as these happen, this takes place, then we are ready for any sort of responsibility that we are asked to take upon ourselves," Erdogan said on the ‘Charlie Rose Show’.
Referring to the aftermath of the flotilla incident, Erdogan told Rose that Israel had attacked "from the sea and from the air and there were plastic bullets used, guns used…The US administration should take ownership of the situation because there was an American citizen involved. The Turkish government would "do the same because families have a right to ask their government what has happened."
"They ask us why, why what has happened? What about my husband or my son? They have a right to ask this question. And the same thing is true for all countries. And we will act within international law taking into consideration the forensic medical reports," Erdogan said.
The prime minister also alleged that the Israeli government impeded Middle East peace attempts, saying that "at the moment, the problem in Israel is the coalition government. The coalition government is the biggest barrier to peace."
"Israel hasn’t really accepted a two-state solution," Erdogan added, saying that while Israel's governments spoke about it, they in fact did nothing to advance it. On the other hand, Erdogan said, Turkey has "worked for the security and we worked for the security of the Israeli people and we have worked to convince Hamas, as well," saying that Ankara had "convinced [Hamas] up to a certain extent."
Referring to the plan drafted by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to precede the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state by establishing national institutions, Erdogan said that he didn't find that plan "very credible."
"Building efforts from the grassroots, ground up is a requirement of democracy, and to do that, you have to have an election. Elections were held, and Hamas won the election," he said.
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