PM condemns killings and shares US’ grief
KIEV / ANKARA
Foreign Ministry says it strongly condemns the Benghazi attack. EPA photo
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 13 condemned the killings of four Americans in a mob attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11.
Speaking to reporters in Kiev, Ukraine, where he was holding an official visit, Erdoğan said he is concerned by the incident and strongly condemns such attacks targeting diplomats.
“We share their grief,” Erdoğan said in a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. As a country currently fighting terrorism, which has lost many diplomats in terrorist attacks in the past, Turkey shares the grief of the U.S., Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan sent a letter of condolence to U.S. President Barack Obama over the deaths in Benghazi, said a statement from the Prime Ministry Sept. 13. Erdoğan’s remarks came a day after Turkish President Abdullah Gül and the Foreign Ministry expressed their condolences for the U.S. losses.
Gül condemned the killings and expressed his condolences, and in a separate statement, the Turkish Foreign Ministry also said it strongly condemned the attack, and that it stands by the American people in solidarity.
Turkey firm on ties with Israel
In answer to a question as to whether there any ongoing mediation efforts are being made to mend ties between Turkey and Israel, Erdoğan reiterated Turkey’s conditions for doing so.
“The answer we have given to those who have asked us to talk about the Israeli issue has always been the same: First, we demand an official apology. Second, we demand redress for the relatives of the victims. And third, we demand an end to the blockade on Gaza. Without compliance with any of these three conditions normalization [of relations] is not possible,” Erdoğan told reporters.
Turkish-Israeli ties reached a historic low after a deadly Israeli attack on Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May 2010 in international waters, in which nine Turkish nationals were killed.
“If there is anyone who could guarantee that all of our conditions will be attained, then they are welcomed to mediate. Otherwise, there is no need to bother,” Erdoğan said.