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TURKEY tr-politics

Gov't and opposition bicker on Israeli rift

ANKARA | 9/7/2011 12:00:00 AM |

PM Erdoğan defends Turkey’s stance against Israel while oppositionhead Kılıçdaroğlu says the country has suffered a ‘crushing defeat’

Turkey will stand firm on its hardening policy against Israel, whatever the cost, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Wednesday as the main opposition leader accused the government of “blundering” in its approach.

“Whatever the cost, be it $15 million, or $150 million… What matters is to not let anyone trample on our honor. It is priceless,” Erdoğan said. Turkey’s conflict with Israel has resulted in “one of the most crushing defeats” in its foreign policy history, the main opposition chief said.

PM: Turkey ready to face cost of crisis

Turkey will stand firm in its hardening policy against Israel whatever the cost, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, slamming Tel Aviv for failing to deliver Turkish unmanned aircraft sent there for maintenance.

“Whatever the cost, be it 15 million dollars, or 150 million dollars... Turkey will not give value to that when necessary. What matters for us is to not let anyone trample on our honor. It is priceless,” Erdoğan told reporters on Wednesday. The premier claimed that Israel had failed to obey the terms of defense industry contracts, noting that Turkish unmanned surveillance aircraft sent to Israel for maintenance had not been returned. “They are still not being returned because of the problems between us. Is this ethical? You can have problems with somebody but there are international agreements, there are international trade ethics,” he said. “Turkish warships setting off from Aksaz or İskenderun will be there... We have calculated the pros and cons. We have been present in these waters [east Mediterranean] throughout history and we will be there today and tomorrow,” said Erdoğan adding that Turkey could enact more sanctions against Israel in the future. “A strategy will be meaningless if you come to reveal it... But we are determined. Our determination must be known,” he said.

Erdoğan hit back at the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, which harshly criticized the government’s foreign policy. “[CHP’s Leader] must give up his advocacy of Israel and be the spokesman of his own party,” he said. Erdoğan said he did not have immediate information on whether Israeli diplomats above the second-secretary level had already left Turkey as the deadline for their departure was to expire Wednesday. Turkish diplomatic sources said Ankara had not provided the Israeli embassy with a list naming the diplomats required to leave.

‘UN report a crushing defeat for Turkey’ CHP says

Blunders by Turkey’s government helped legitimize Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip via a recent U.N. report, the main opposition said Wednesday, calling the affair “one of the most crushing defeats” in Turkish foreign policy history.

“The legal ground Israel was looking for to justify the unlawful and ruthless blockade of Gaza has been handed to them almost as a present through the U.N. report,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the head of the Republican People’s Party said in a speech Wednesday in the Aegean province of Aydın.

“Turkey has been the loser in this affair since the beginning. Turkey lost lives ... the legal struggle ... prestige,” he said. Kılıçdaroğlu played down a series of measures Turkey announced against Israel, saying they “have no function other than deceiving the Turkish people.” Kılıçdaroğlu also said a U.S. radar to be stationed in Turkey as part of NATO’s missile defense system would serve to protect Israel.

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