Israeli minister dubs Turkish PM `enemy` amid diplomatic row
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Last Updated: Saturday, June 19, 2010, 23:09
  
Jerusalem: A top Israeli minister Sarturday dubbed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as "enemy", but said it has no problem with the Turkish people amid a diplomatic row between the Jewish nation and Ankar over the bloody raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

"The Turkish people aren't the enemy, but Erdogan is Israel's enemy," Israel's Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said today.

Amid the diplomatic row between Israel and Turkey, Misezhnikov was responding to the Turkish Premier's earlier comments that Ankara's problem is with the Netanyahu-led government and not the people in the Jewish nation.

"This isn't a healthy situation, and unless he (Erdogan) leaves office there is no room for optimism," Misezhnikov was quoted as saying by Ha'aretz newspaper at a cultural event in the northern town of Bat Yam.

Misezhnikov also indicated that Erdogan isn't speaking as a representative of the Turkish people and his country is divided in its support for him.

Misezhnikov is drawing plans to keep Israeli travellers inside the country during the summer vacations as he asked Israelis to refrain from travelling to their favourite destination Turkey.

Earlier today, Erdogan said that his country did not have a problem with Israelis but with its government's policies, Turkish news agency Andolu reported.

The Turkish premier underlined that his country would continue to investigate Israel's attack on the Turkish-flagged Gaza-bound aid flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, in which nine Turkish activists were killed.

"We have not remained silent against this piracy and injustice, and we will not do so, and we will seek solutions within the framework of international law," Erdogan told reporters in Ankara.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Israel to agree to an international probe of its deadly commando raid on the Turkish ship trying to bring aid to Gaza and do "much more" to meet the needs of the Palestinians living there.

Ban said yesterday that Israel's investigation of the May 31 flotilla raid is important but won't have "international credibility," which is why he is continuing to urge the Jewish state to agree to an international panel with Israeli and Turkish participation.

Under mounting international pressure, Israel last week formed an internal panel, including two foreign observers, to investigate events surrounding its May 31 interception of a six ship convoy heading to the Gaza Strip.

PTI


First Published: Saturday, June 19, 2010, 23:09


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