Davutoglu began with the usual rhetoric, saying that “If Israel wants to improve relations with us, then they should accept their accountability and do all the necessary actions to prevent deterioration of our relations.”
Davutoglu was referring to the May 31st Gaza flotilla raid where 9 activists were killed, among them Turkish nationals, after Israeli navy soldiers who boarded one of the boats armed with paintball guns came under attack from passengers.
Though Davutoglu was quoted previously as saying Ankara would cut ties with Israel unless it issued an official apology, a Turkish government official claimed today that the Foreign Minister’s words were being misrepresented. What the official replaced them with, however, was much more vague. “We expect Israel either to apologize and to accept these crimes or to accept international investigation. If they do not follow these two alternatives then of course Turkey … has full rights to take any measure to protect the rights of her citizens.”
What these measures might be is the current subject of dispute.
Israel, for its part, has said it has no intention of issuing any apology nor submitting to an international inquiry. Turkey has yet to decide what to do about this. The statements were made during a Turkish meeting with British officials to discuss Turkey’s joining the European Union.
Meanwhile, in the backdrop of this meeting and Turkey’s attempts to join the EU, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he is going ahead with efforts to change the country’s constitution in what opponents say is an attempt to reign in possible judicial-based opposition to his initiatives. Erdogan claims the changes are needed to enhance the country’s bid for European Union membership.
In line with the challenges that the proposed constitutional amendments would only serve to tighten the party’s control of state institutions, the Turkish Top Court annulled two articles in the package of proposed changes last week.
Erdogan’s support will be gauged by whether his reform packages will pass ahead of next year’s general elections in Turkey. The only legislators to vote for the constitutional package were member of Erdogan’s own Islamic PK party.
Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu decried Erdogan’s attempt at what he sees as a judicial takeoever. “The constitutional changes take away our rights, our freedoms. Therefore we will say ‘no’ at the referendum,” he said.