‘Turkey to take central role in supervising Gaza crossings’ 12Jun10 June 13, 2010

by Jack Khoury  -  Haaretz -  12 June 2010

Turkey could be given a central role in supervising the border crossings with the Gaza Strip as part of a deal to repair ties between Israel and Turkey, according to Arab diplomatic sources cited by the Lebanese Ad-Diyar newspaper on Saturday.

Palestinian flags flutter at Israel's border with Gaza, April 6,  2010 Palestinian flags flutter at Israel’s border with Gaza, April 6, 2010
Photo by: AP

The relationship between Israel and Turkey has deteriorated dramatically since the IDF raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla on May 31 in which nine people, including eight Turks and one Turkish-American, were killed.

According to the report, Turkey would supervise all humanitarian aid entering Gaza, as well as commit to preventing the entry of weapons and money destined for Hamas.

In this position, Turkey would play a meaningful role in lifting the blockade of Gaza and a central figure in the Middle East which will enable the Islamic country to mediate between Israel and the Arab world in the future, as Turkey has sought in the past.

The report has not yet been validated by Turkish or Israeli officials.

On Friday Turkish President Abdullah Gul told the French daily Le Monde that Israel must make amends to be forgiven for a commando assault on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, including apologizing for the attack and paying compensation.

Gul added that if Israel made no move to heal the rift, then Turkey could even decide to break diplomatic relations.

In an interview published on Friday, Gul said the Israeli attack at the end of May, which killed nine activists, was a “crime” which might have been carried out by the likes of al-Qaida rather than a sovereign state.

“It seems impossible to me to forgive or forget, unless there are some initiatives which could change the situation,”Gul was quoted as saying by Le Monde.

Asked what these might be, he said: “Firstly, to ask pardon and to establish some sort of compensation.” He added that he also wanted to see an independent inquiry into the botched raid and a discussion on lifting Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

Palestinians at the Gaza border fence, June 2, 2010 Palestinians at the Gaza border fence, June 2, 2010
Photo by: AP

Asked if Turkey might break relations with Israel if they did nothing, Gul said: “Anything is possible.”

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