Flotilla raid hurt Mideast peace process: Davutoglu

WASHINGTON (BestGrowthStock) – Israel’s deadly raid on a Turkish-backed aid flotilla trying to reach Gaza will have a long-term negative impact on the Middle East peace process, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday.

Davutoglu said Ankara’s efforts to restart talks between Syria and Israel would be put on hold.

“How can we rely that we have a real counterpart who wants peace even if they do not respect the citizens of a friendly country?” he told reporters at a breakfast meeting in Washington. “If they don’t act, how can we convince Syria or other countries in the region that they want peace?”

Davutoglu said he would ask Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at their meeting on Tuesday morning for a clear U.S. condemnation of the Israeli actions, saying Turkey was disappointed with Washington’s response so far.

“Still, some of our allies are not ready to condemn the Israeli actions,” Davutoglu said. “We expect full solidarity with us. It should not be a choice between Turkey and Israel. It should be a choice between right and wrong.”

Nine civilians were killed, dozens were injured and hundreds were detained on Monday when Israeli forces raided a flotilla of Turkish-backed aid ships planning to run the Israeli sea blockade of Gaza.

The incident provoked widespread condemnation, and the United Nations called for an impartial investigation to determine what happened as Israeli forces boarded the ship where the killings occurred.

Davutoglu said he would seek U.S. support for Turkey’s call for an immediate and unconditional release of all those detained in the raid.

He said Turkey also would raise the issue with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization because the incident was an attack on citizens of a NATO country by a non-NATO state.

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(Reporting by Andrew Quinn, writing by David Alexander, editing by Vicki Allen)

Flotilla raid hurt Mideast peace process: Davutoglu