Turkish President Abdullah Gul justifies his country’s recent row with Israel over its acts of war in Gaza, reiterating that his government’s criticism of Israel is fair and valid.
The Turkish president said in a television interview on Sunday that having "good relations" with Israel does not prevent his country from criticizing Tel Aviv and revealing its faults. Turkey is one of a few countries that maintain relations with both Israel and Arab nations.
"But that does not mean that Turkey will not raise its voice against mistakes if they are made. … We should not think that Turkey would keep quiet," Gul told TRT public television.
Gul made the remarks in support of his government’s decision to exclude Israel from an international air force exercise in objection to Tel Aviv’s deadly military offensive in Gaza last winter that killed 1400 mostly civilian Palestinians, leading to global condemnation of Israel’s occupying regime.
The move sparked a crisis in the Ankara-Tel Aviv ties, which further deteriorated after a Turkish TV series, depicting Israeli soldiers as killers, was aired in the country. The popular series drew strong reaction from the occupiers of Palestine leading to the summoning of the Turkish ambassador to Tel Aviv by the Israeli foreign ministry.
Turkey has also repeatedly condemned Israel’s two-year-long siege of Gaza and the expansion of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territories.