Israel must take full responsibility for flotilla killings - Turkish FM
Turkey says Israel must take full responsibility for the killing of nine peace activists during an attack in May on an aid flotilla bound for Gaza, Press TV reported.
"Nobody can lay on the responsibility of killing civilians in international waters onto somebody else," AFP quoted Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as saying on Tuesday.
"We have a very clear situation. Israel has killed nine civilians in international waters. Before anything else, they should take responsibility for this... Turkey has absolutely no responsibility in the incident," Davutoglu added.
On May 31, the Israeli military attacked the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla of international aid in the Mediterranean Sea, in international waters, killing nine activists onboard the Turkish-flagged M.V. Mavi Marmara and injuring about 50 other people who were part of the team on the six-ship convoy.
The Turkish foreign minister's remarks came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the attack on Tuesday alleging that organizations sponsoring the Gaza Freedom Flotilla "were preparing for armed conflict to embarrass Israel."
Netanyahu said Turkey had ignored repeated warnings and appeals "at the highest level" to stop the flotilla.
The United Nations named a panel in August to look into the deadly incident.
Israel threatened on Tuesday to pull out of a UN investigation as the international probe seeks to question Israeli soldiers.
The Turkish foreign minister expressed his confidence in the UN panel which will investigate the ship, and said that the panel will surely find those who are responsible for the deaths.
"We trust the work of the international commission and believe it will find those responsible in line with international law," he said.