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Turkey Declares Diplomatic Cold War on Israel

Turkey unofficially declares a diplomatic cold war; recalls ambassador; threatens to sue Israel in the International Court
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 9/4/2011, 12:18 PM

Turkey has unofficially declared a diplomatic cold war, recalling its ambassador and threatening to charge Israel in the International Court.

Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu announced on Friday that Ankara was not only recalling its ambassador but also “will reduce its level of diplomatic representation in Israel to that of second secretary, a lower rank than consul.

The action was taken in response to a United Nations report stating that the Israeli naval blockade on Hamas-controlled Gaza is legal and that the Turkish-based and financed IHH flotilla last year was a “reckless” act. Nine IHH terror activists were killed when they brutally assaulted Israeli Navy commandos who stopped the boat from continuing en route to Gaza.

Davutoglu also said Turkey is suspending all military agreements with Israel, which has refused Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s demand for an apology for the incident.

His government worsened tensions on Saturday with a threat to take Israel to court.

"What is binding is the International Court of Justice," Davutoglu said. "This is what we are saying: let the International Court of Justice decide. We are starting the necessary legal procedures this coming week.”

Although the United Nations issued the report on the flotilla clash, the international body did not endorse the findings of the Palmer Commission, meaning that the conclusions are not binding and thus leave open the path of challenging Israel in the International Court.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon responded, "The problem here is on the Turkish side... They were not ready for a compromise and kept raising the threshold. I think we need to say to the Turks: as far as we are concerned, this saga is behind us. Now we need to cooperate. Lack of cooperation harms not only us, but Turkey as well."

Israel’s Foreign Minister is preparing for the possibility that Turkey might send its navy to escort another flotilla effort to reach Gaza.