Turkey threatens to cut ties with Israel

Turkey has today threatened to cut diplomatic ties with Israel if it does not apologise for its deadly raid on the Gaza aid convoy or accept an international inquiry into it.

Eight Turks and a Turkish-American were killed when Israeli commandos intercepted the aid ships.

Turkey has already withdrawn its ambassador, cancelled naval drills with Israel and is barring some military planes from using its airspace. Turkish officials have said the envoy will not return until Israel takes steps to meet the demands.

Turkey is committed to binding contracts with Israeli companies, but further business is in doubt.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu laid out Turkey’s conditions for improved ties with Israel during a secretly held meeting with Israel’s Industry Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer in Brussels last week.

Israel insists commandos involved in raid acted in self-defence after being attacked by pro-Palestinian activists and has launched its own probe into the incident. However, Turkey insists that Israel must agree to an international probe instead.

“Israelis have three options: They will either apologise or acknowledge an international-impartial inquiry and its conclusion. Otherwise, our diplomatic ties will be cut off,” Mr Davutoglu said.

Relations between Turkey and Israel are at their lowest point since the two countries embarked on a policy of strategic cooperation after the first Israeli-Palestinian accord in 1993.

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