Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is continuing his wave of verbal attacks on Israel, this time in an interview with Time Magazine.
During the interview Erdogan reiterated his support for the Palestinian Authority’s UN statehood bid and accused Israel of defying UN resolutions.
“First and foremost, what is required is for the UN Security Council to say yes to the legitimate demands of the people in Palestine,” he said. “If anything else should be discussed at this moment, it should be between two states. And there’s another fact we need to consider, primarily the borders of 1967. Israel first seems to have accepted going back to the borders of 1967, but somehow seemed to have got distanced from this ideal. They need to get closer back to it.”
Erdogan added, “[The Palestinians] are there to exist. They are not there to be condemned to struggle in an open-air penitentiary. Israel’s cruelty in that regard cannot be continued any longer. And, of course, the legitimate demands for Palestine to be a recognized state should be catered to and considered both in the UN Security Council and General Assembly. Those who approach these demands negatively will never be able to settle their accounts with history.
Referring to his country’s diplomatic row with Israel, the Turkish leader said: “Our mutual relations with Israel would have been reinforced even further only if Israel hadn’t victimized the positive relations of the two countries with [its 2010 raid] on the Mavi Marmara, which was navigating in international waters.”
He added, “The flotillas in question were bearing nothing but humanitarian aid, including toys, food and other sorts of materials. They were holding over 450 citizens from 32 countries. One of the casualties is an American citizen of Turkish descent. And right now the Israeli Prime Minister still alleges that the flotillas were actually loaded with weapons. Had they possessed the weapons that were alleged, why didn't they fire back? There are reports issued by both the UN Security Council and UN agencies in Geneva about this incident, and you never see the slightest trace that the flotillas were carrying guns.”
Erdogan was ignoring the filmed evidence which showed that the terrorists on the Mavi Marmara attacked the IDF soldiers who boarded the ship with clubs and knives. He was also ignoring the Israeli finding that there was no humanitarian aid whatsoever on the Marmara.
Erdogan repeated the same demand he has made in the past. “Right now, as long as they refuse to apologize for the nine people of Turkish descent who lost their lives on the flotilla, so long as they refuse to pay compensation to the families, and of course as long as the embargo on Gaza has not been lifted, the relations between the two countries will never become normalized.”
He dismissed the Quartet’s proposal to renew negotiations between Israel and the PA, saying that the Quartet does not really want to resolve the conflict between the two sides.
“[I]f the Quartet was so willing to resolve this issue, they would have imposed certain issues on Israel today,” Erdogan said. “Until today, the UN Security Council has issued more than 89 resolutions on prospective sanctions related to Israel, but they’ve never been executed. And furthermore, there were about 200 resolutions issued by the General Assembly, and neither have those been complied with.
“One might wonder why no sanctions have been imposed on Israel,” he added. “When it’s Iran in question, you impose sanctions. Similarly with Sudan. What happens with Israel then? Had these sanctions been imposed in this day and age, the Palestine-Israel conflict would have been resolved a long time ago. That’s why I’d like all the parties involved to be sincere and stand behind those resolutions.”
The Turkish leader did not stop there, hinting that in order to sanction Israel there should be a reform in the Security Council.
“What’s the deal with these permanent-seat-holding members in the Security Council?” said Erdogan. “They should be eliminated. The entire world is literally a slave to the decisions of these five permanent seat holders.”
Ever since his country cut off its diplomatic ties with Israel over the Marmara incident, Erdogan has made a point of attacking Israel at every opportunity. Earlier this week, he told CNN: “They (Israel) say that Palestine is bombing and disturbing the people of Israel, and many Israelis have been killed. I would like to see accurate statistics of how many Israelis have been killed by the bombs thrown by Palestinians or with the rockets that were launched by them, 10, 20, 100, 200, how many? Please document it. Let us know.”
“But on the other hand,” he added, “we know that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were killed. Only as a result of the Gaza attack, thousands of people were killed. These are very clear remarks. The Israeli people are only resorting back to the issue of genocide in history.”
Israel’s security cabinet has made a firm decision not to respond to Erdogan’s verbal attacks, in an attempt to avoid further inflaming the delicate situation, but Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu slammed his Turkish counterpart earlier this week for the “scandalous” remarks he made both to CNN and during his address to the UN General Assembly.