White House Protest Corps

Erdoğan warns turning blind eye to raid will legalize future brutality

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned the international community about the potential harm of turning a blind eye to the illegality of the May 31 Israeli raid on an aid flotilla in the eastern Mediterranean that led to the deaths of nine peace activists, saying such an approach would inevitably lead to repetition of similar violent acts.



“Look, I want to say it because it is important to our agenda. On May 31, there was a very grave violation of international law,” Erdoğan said on Wednesday at a UN meeting held in İstanbul.

Nine Turkish nationals were killed last Monday during an Israeli commando raid of the Mavi Marmara, part of a six-vessel convoy that set out to challenge the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel said its troops used lethal force in self-defense after they were attacked by pro-Palestinian activists wielding clubs and knives. Both Turkish leaders and the global public were infuriated by the killings.

“Israeli commandos attacked passengers of ship, which included civilian aid volunteers from 32 countries carrying humanitarian assistance to Gaza and slew exactly nine innocent people.

Twenty-four people were wounded. Remaining silent, again, about this attack, which took place in international waters and which is completely unlawful, and turning a blind eye [to this attack] like [has been done in] the earlier [examples] will open a new wound in the conscience of humanity,” Erdoğan went on to say.

The two-day regional conference on progress towards the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals will close today. The conference, which draws on the full strength of the UN system, is hosted by the Turkish government and co-organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). In line with the theme of the conference, Erdoğan reiterated Turkey’s call to international bodies, which it says should be more representative and should be proactive in dealing with regional and international disputes that erode mutual confidence among nations of the world.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan warned the international community that the May 31 Israeli raid may be repeated if the world turns a blind eye to it, while speaking at a UN meeting in İstanbul, on Wednesday.

“Violations of law committed by a state — in an irresponsible manner, thoughtlessly, fearlessly and without any hesitation — will harm humanity’s sensitivity to justice and will further diminish the trust among international organizations,” Erdoğan said.

“If we are talking about global peace and if we are sincerely aware that we have to find solutions to global problems together, then we have to display a humanitarian stance against these kinds of unlawful [incidents], — a just, determined and courageous stance. Those who remain silent, who remain indifferent, and who turn a blind eye will not only be partner to these massacres, but will also legitimize new attacks in the future and will be lending support to such attacks,” he said. Erdoğan’s speech in İstanbul came on the same day when certain powers notified the UN nuclear watchdog of their concerns regarding the proposal for Iran to send 1.2 tons of its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for reactor fuel.

Russia, France and the United States handed a response to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano, said the IAEA and diplomats on Wednesday. It was then sent to Iran’s IAEA envoy before a pending UN Security Council vote on new sanctions against Tehran.

The United States has said Tehran’s decision to back the nuclear fuel swap deal, brokered by Turkey and Brazil, is a ploy to avoid new sanctions against Iran, the world’s fifth-largest crude exporter. Diplomats said Iran’s proposal lacked practical details needed to carry it out. In İstanbul, Erdoğan called the deal “a diplomatic victory.” He said, “A victory of diplomacy has been gained in the name of regional and global peace.”


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