Turkish Opposition Criticizes Downgrading Ties with Israel
The Turkish opposition criticized Erdogan’s government on Thursday over the way it was capable of handling the relation with Israel, which collapsed almost at every level. The leaders of the opposition said that by his actions, Erdogan led to the legitimization of the blockade on Gaza by the United Nations, through the Palmer report released last week, and gave a blow to Turkey’s prestige in the world.
In response, Erdogan said that Turkey would defend its honor against Israel at any cost. Erdogan said that whether it is about 15 million dollars or 150 million Turkey will not hesitate to pay the price of not letting anyone tread on the country’s honor.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the opposition, said that the downgrading of relations with Israel serves no other purpose than to deceive the Turkish people, adding that the radar the United States wants to place on Turkish territory will be used to protect Israel.
The defense system that the Turks will deploy on their territory in order to protect NATO countries against Iran’s military capabilities, came under criticism from Tehran, who warned on Thursday that the NATO radar placed on Turkish ground would cause nothing but tensions between the two countries.
Iranian officials said that Turkey must be careful not to encourage the presence of NATO near the Iranian borders. Turkey is a key member of NATO, with the second-largest army and a very important geo-strategic position.
The decision to allow the deployment of this radar comes at a time when the Israeli defense attaché colonel Moshe Levy is to receive on Thursday a decision on whether he can remain or not in Turkey.
Foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that the criticism formulated by the leaders of the opposition is more befitting an Israeli official speaking in a press conference than a Turkish citizen. Davutoglu asked the opposition leader to demonstrate solidarity with the Turkish government on this matter.
As for the Israeli officials speaking in press conferences, Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday that the downgrading of mutual relations was not the fault of Israel, nor was it by Israeli choice.
As he expressed hope that the relations would improve, the Turkish prime minister accused Israel of not delivering the unmanned drones Turkey had purchased from Israel, which were sent back for maintenance by the Israeli state.
Haaretz quoted Erdogan on Thursday to have said that Israel is not loyal in the defense industry agreements.
Turkish PM said that regardless of the political problems existing between the two countries, the UAV agreement must be observed, and the unmanned drones must be delivered.
Turkey needs the UAVs to check the region inhabited by the Kurds both on Turkish side of the border and on the Iraqi one.
On Thursday morning, speaking for the Israeli national radio, defense minister Ehud Barak expressed his personal regret and apology for the lives of the nine Turkish nationals, and said that steps must be taken so that the situation be fixed.
Though the Israeli cabinet advised restraint in order to have the situation under control with a predictable timeframe for its repair, Israeli transport minister said that the prime minister was perfectly motivated not to issue an apology for the loss of Turkish lives on May 31, 2010.11