Turkey wants UN body to discuss Gaza 'war crimes'
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday his country would push the Security Council to discuss a report by U.N. investigators accusing Israel and Palestinian militants of war crimes in the Gaza war, Reuters reported.
"We will definitely take the position to discuss this issue on the Security Council," Erdogan told reporters.
A U.N. fact-finding mission led by South African jurist Richard Goldstone issued a report last week that said both the Israeli army and Palestinian militants had committed war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity, during the December-January war in the Gaza Strip.
The report urged the Security Council to refer the allegations to the International Criminal Court in The Hague if either Israel or Palestinian authorities failed to investigate and prosecute those suspected of the crimes within six months.
Erdogan, who is in New York for the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, said through an interpreter there should be "accountability" for anyone guilty of war crimes in Gaza.
"We're in favor of opening discussions on the Goldstone report and whoever is the guilty party, they should be identified and face the necessary sanctions," he said.
Turkey joined the 15-nation Security Council as a temporary member in January and will have a seat until the end of 2010.
Both Israel and Hamas denied committing any war crimes. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the report of the Goldstone commission, which Israel refused to cooperate with, as a travesty.
Ankara's insistence on raising the issue in New York might annoy Washington. The United States has said the report should be discussed by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, not the Security Council.
U.S. veto power in the Security Council makes it unlikely the body would take any action against Washington's ally Israel. But any serious discussion of the Goldstone report in New York could embarrass the Jewish state.