Berlin – Germany on Saturday called on Turkey to accept the findings of a United Nations report which certified the legality of an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, which resulted in the death of eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American.
On Friday, the UN released a report concluding that the May 2010 raid was legal, but urged Israel to show “regret” for using excessive force and compensate the families of the dead. In response, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador to Ankara.
“We wanted a comprehensive, transparent and neutral investigation. This independent and transparent investigation took place. The results should be taken seriously even if a certain aspect is not liked by one or the other,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said.
Speaking in Sopot, Poland, after a meeting with EU counterparts in which Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu also took part, Westerwelle said Germany was following the dispute “with great concern” and appealed “to all sides not to aggravate the situation.”
“I do appreciate the work of the Turkish foreign minister very much, but I said that everything must be done to relieve tensions between Turkey and Israel. Turkey is playing a key role in the Middle East,” Westerwelle said.
Davutoglu declined to speak to the foreign media in Sopot.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe also weighed in on the dispute.
“We wish that this conflict between Israel and Turkey is solved by dialogue, cooperation and not through other means,” he said.
Earlier on Saturday, Turkish officials told the Hurriyet Daily News that the Turkish navy will significantly strengthen its presence in the eastern Mediterranean Sea as one of the steps the Turkish government has decided to take following the release of the UN Palmer report on the 2010 Gaza flotilla.
As part of the plan, the Turkish navy will increase its patrols in the eastern Mediterranean and pursue “a more aggressive strategy”.
According to the report, Turkish naval vessels will accompany civilian ships carrying aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Another goal of the plan is to ensure free navigation in the region between Cyprus and Israel. The region includes areas where Israel and Cyprus cooperate in drilling for oil and gas.