Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said Israel would be ranked first in a list of human rights violators if there were such a list. He strongly condemned the US veto at the UN Security Council of a resolution that would have called Israel settlements in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem “illegal”. Speaking to reporters before his departure to Geneva for a session of the UN Human Rights Council Davutoglu also pledged that Turkey would continue to follow investigations into the Gaza flotilla raid by Israel, which he called “an attack against a civilian convoy, violating all human rights principles.” In May 2010, Israeli naval commandos stormed the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara when it attempted to break the Israeli-Egyptian sea blockade of the Gaza Strip, killing eight Turkish nationals. Turkey has since demanded an apology and compensation for the families of the victims. Israel says its soldiers acted in self-defense.
Davutoglu said he would bring up the issue at the Human Rights Council, as it was both a human rights issue and a strategic matter in terms of violation of international law in the eastern Mediterranean. The foreign minister also highlighted Turkey’s role in Human Rights Council and said that while Turkey had been criticized for its poor human rights record in the past, it had now endorsed a policy to step up human rights standards in the world. “We have a policy of human rights diplomacy,” he claimed.
Foreign ministers from around the world, including Hillary Clinton of the US and Sergey Lavrov of Russia, were in Geneva to coordinate action against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.