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News ID: 4699
Asia » Asia
Publish Date: 14:43 - 23 July 2014
Turkey's aim is to see the blockade on Gaza removed and a Palestinian state founded on its own land within protectable borders, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has said.
Arinc was speaking during a late night live interview on a Turkish television regarding Israel's recent air and ground operation in Gaza.

'Operation Protective Edge' has claimed 644 Palestinian lives - mostly civilians - since July 7, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Two Israeli soldiers were killed by sniper fire on Tuesday bringing to 31 the number of Israelis killed since hostilities began. The fatalities include 29 soldiers and two civilians.

"Actually, this is the process already acknowledged by the world but Israel is not allowing it," said Arinc last night, who claimed humanity was "turning a blind eye to such an atrocity."

"[A ceasefire is] possible but Israel agrees to a ceasefire only when there is no-one left to kill. A ceasefire must ensue immediately," said Arinc in response to a question on his view of a possible Palestine-Israel truce.

He expressed hopes that a halt to the ongoing bombardment over Gaza would happen on the Muslim holy night of Qadr which falls this evening.

- Relations with Israel after Mavi Marmara incident

Arinc said that Turkey broke off all relations with Israel right after the Mavi Marmara incident where Israeli soldiers killed 10 activists including nine Turkish nationals on a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla in 2010.

"After [the] Israeli apology for the incident, talks over compensation to be paid to the families of the victims began under my supervision. At the very last phase, Israel refrained from signing the related agreement as one of our demands was the lifting of [the] Gaza blockade. It seems they were thinking of shelling Gaza because they launched the military operation before they signed the document," he said.

Arinc maintained that this proved Israel is not a "trustworthy" state.

Diplomatic relations with Israel had already been downgraded following the 2010 Israeli attack on the Turkish aid flotilla in international waters off the coast of the Palestinian enclave.

Arinc also refuted the claims over "ongoing cooperation with Israel" in membership of multinational organizations, military drills and the defense industry since the incident.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday rejecting allegations in the media that Ankara still keeps up its partnership with Israel in energy and defense fields, allegedly selling jet fuel or gas to the country.

Arinc said that transnational trade continues as Israel is the only way Turkey's commercial goods and humanitarian aid reaches Palestine and Gaza.

"Nobody can criticize us for that. Firstly, trade is not related to such issues. Secondly, we are the windpipe by which Palestine can breathe. We have to conduct our trade with Palestine via Israel. We have to make use of Israel both for sending humanitarian aid and opening [a] humanitarian corridor into Gaza," he said.

Arinc also said prosperous Arab and Muslim countries "who have much more capital than the Jewish and U.S. capital in the world" should use their wealth from oil and gas as a "strategic weapon for world peace".

The Turkish Prime Ministry has launched an aid campaign for Gaza on Wednesday with the aim of helping Palestinians struggling with famine, drought and health problems amid the attacks and the embargo in place since 2007.

Israel's military operation, dubbed "Operation Protective Edge," is the country’s third major offensive against the densely populated Gaza Strip – which is home to 1.8 million Palestinians – in the last six years.


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