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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-06-17

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Turkish ambassador holds press briefing on Gaza incident

  • [01] Turkish ambassador holds press briefing on Gaza incident

    (ANA-MPA) -- Turkey's ambassador to Greece on Thursday reiterated his government's positions regarding the unprecedented May 31 Israeli raid against a flotilla carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, stressing that the act was a wholesale violation of international law.

    Nevertheless, Amb. Hasan Gogus emphasised that the incident, which left nine volunteers aboard the lead vessel "Mavi Marmara" dead, was not a bilateral problem between Israel and Turkey but rather a problem the Mideast country now has with the international community as a whole.

    Gogus also flatly dismissed high-profile charges by the Israeli side of an "Islamic infiltration" of the humanitarian mission, referring to volunteers from 34 different countries, including Greek nationals and an Israeli MP, aboard the six vessels. Moreover, the veteran Turkish diplomat reiterated Ankara's standing demand for an independent probe into the deadly incident, as per a recent proposal by the UN Chief.

    "We don't believe a national (Israeli) committee will conduct an impartial inquiry. The incident took place in international waters. We ask for an apology and (for Israel) to provide compensation," he said during a detailed briefing on Ankara's position at the Turkish embassy in Athens.

    Gogus again echoed official Turkey's sharp criticism of the entire Israeli operation, which took place as the six vessels were headed towards Israeli-blockaded Gaza but while still in international waters, repeating that the Mideast nation violated international maritime laws.

    Asked about Turkey's heightened criticism of the raid vis-à-vis the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea -- which Ankara has not signed -- the Turkish ambassador said the two issues are absolutely not linked. He said the fact that Turkey has not signed international treaty in no way means that it (Turkey) does not support international law.

    "We have problems with some of the articles of the convention ... some are already implemented, some not, but this does not mean we are against the Law of the Sea Treaty as a whole," he said.

    Finally, in briefing reporters on Turkey's recent prominence in the Iran nuclear issue, the ambassador said the Turkish government's primary objective is to keep Iran at the negotiating table.

    "We are against the proliferation of WMDs," he concluded.

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