Israeli ambassador given serious warnings, Davutoğlu says

Israeli ambassador given serious warnings, Davutoğlu says

Israeli Ambassador Gaby Levy

May 17, 2011, Tuesday/ 15:07:00

Israeli Ambassador Gaby Levy has been summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry and given a series of warnings, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Tuesday.

Levy was summoned at Davutoğlu's order and the Israeli diplomat had a meeting with Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Halit Çevik, who gave him a series of “serious warnings and messages,” Davutoğlu said in an interview broadcast on a local television channel in Konya, his hometown and electoral district. The foreign minister did not reveal what the warning were about, saying only that they concerned “recent developments.”

But the conversation, whose date was not given, appeared to be about a planned aid flotilla to Gaza. Davutoğlu denied reports that Levy had visited the Foreign Ministry to tell the Turkish officials to stop the flotilla, which is expected to sail towards Gaza in June despite an Israeli blockade of the coastal strip.

“Ambassador Levy's coming to the Foreign Ministry and issuing such a warning is out of the question. No foreign ambassador in Ankara can do that,” Davutoğlu said. “On the contrary, he was summoned to the Foreign Ministry upon my directions and given several serious warnings and messages about recent developments. Turkey's expectations concerning steps that need to be taken so as to prevent a repeat of similar events were conveyed to him,” he added.

Davutoğlu said he would not provide details about the content of the meeting but added that Gaby was given “clear messages” regarding Turkey's stance on certain issues.

An international flotilla is planning to depart for Gaza to break the Israeli blockade in June, a year after Israeli commandos stormed a ship in a similar flotilla, killing eight Turks and one Turkish American on the ship Mavi Marmara. The same ship, owned by the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH), a Turkish charity, will take part in the new venture.

Turkey demands compensation for families of the victims and a formal apology in order for its ties with Israel to normalize.

The government also refuses to pressure İHH to stop the new flotilla, saying it is a civilian initiative and, as a democratic country, it cannot intervene in the decisions of civil society groups.

“It is an orientalist belief that nongovernmental groups in Turkey move when they are told by the state to move and stop when they are told to do so,” he said.

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