Israeli war on Gaza killed peace perspective in ME’

Turkey tells Israel to end Gaza tragedy Children in Gaza have no schools to go to: Turk FM

By: The News International

ANKARA: Turkey urged Israel on Friday to end the “humanitarian tragedy” in Gaza, saying ties between the two allies cannot recover if Palestinian suffering continues and peace talks remain dead in the Middle East.

“Ending the humanitarian tragedy in Gaza, reviving peace efforts — both on the Palestinian and Syrian track, and most importantly — reinstating a prevailing spirit of peace in the region… this is what we want,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters.

“When there is a return to the track of peace, these relations of trust (with Israel) will be re-established on the same level as before,” he said.

Israel’s ties with its chief regional ally took a sharp downturn last week when Ankara excluded the Jewish state from annual joint military exercises, prompting a rebuke from the United States.

The row flared Thursday as Israel summoned the Turkish envoy to protest a Turkish state television series which it condemned as “inciting hatred against Israel” and “not worthy of being broadcast even in an enemy state.”

Davutoglu said that Israel’s war on Gaza at the turn of the year “killed the peace perspective” in the Middle East and that ongoing turmoil in the devastated Palestinian enclave was at the core of the bilateral chill.

He made it clear Ankara was still bitter that the war also disrupted indirect peace talks between Israel and Syria that Turkey had mediated “with so much effort.”

“As long as the human tragedy in Gaza continues, no one should expect us to be part of a military picture” with Israel, he said, referring to the scrapped military drills.

“Although no single rocket has been fired on Israel from Gaza over the past eight months, children in Gaza have no schools to go to, people have no homes to take shelter in,” he said.

Davutoglu rejected suggestions that his government, the moderate offshoot of a now-banned Islamist party, was becoming anti-Israeli.

“The humanitarian situation (in Gaza) should be improved in the shortest possible time.

How can wanting this amount to being anti-Israeli? This is a humanitarian attitude,” he said.

Earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said the television series that infuriated Israel had no political motive but conceded the plot might be “a bit exaggerated,” Anatolia news agency reported.

“Relations between Turkey and Israel have always been strong. We have full confidence that they will always remain strong,” he said.

The first episode, aired Tuesday, showed Israeli forces shooting a little girl and a newborn baby, and portrayed them as insulting and ridiculing Palestinians. Israel’s hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday the latest developments “raised the question: what direction is Turkish policy taking? We hope it is toward strengthening peace and not extremists.”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been at the forefront of international criticism of the Gaza offensive.

In an unprecedented outburst, he stormed out from a debate at the World Economic Forum in January, accusing Israel of “barbarian” acts and telling Israeli President Shimon Peres, sitting next to him, that “you know well how to kill people.”

The Palestinians struggle for statehood enjoys widespread support in Turkey, both among Islamists and leftists.

In contrast to its souring ties with Israel, Erdogan’s government has markedly improved ties with Syria and sought closer relations with Iran, an arch-enemy of the Jewish state.

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