Turkey Downgrades Israel Ties
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday Turkey was reducing its diplomatic presence in Israel and suspending military agreements until the Jewish state issued a "full apology" for the deaths of 9 Turkish nationals during the IDFs boarding of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara in 2010.
Turkey's move comes as UNs Palmer Report on the incident was released Friday. Davutoglu said some of the report's findings - which did not endorse Turkey's increasingly strident demands - were unacceptable.
The report concluded Israel faces "a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law."
At the same time, the 105-page report, concluded "Israel's decision to board the vessels with such substantial force at a great distance from the blockade zone and with no final warning immediately prior to the boarding was excessive and unreasonable."
It did not take into account that IDF commandos who boarded the ship were armed with less-than-lethal 'pneumatic guns' or that live fire was only employed when those proved insufficient to stop the threat to life and limb the organized lynch mob they encountered presented.
Before the New York Times published the report, Davutoglu warned that if Israel did not apologize for the incident by the time the report was formally released, Turkey would "put Plan B into play."
Plan B refers to a threat made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month that if Israel did not apologize, pay reparations for the deaths, and terminate its Gaza blockade, that Turkey would further downgrade ties with Israel and aggressively oppose it in international forums. The Turks have also threatened to cut economic ties as part of a "Plan B."
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said Israel will issue no more than an 'expression of regret' for the deaths as more would demoralize the nation and be taken as a sign of weakness.