May 13, 2010

From Erdogan to Palestine, with love

What did it take for the US to get Turkey to agree to Israel's joining the OECD? Not much, according to Yediot. An article in the paper's May 12 edition, as translated by Coteret, says all Erdogan asked in return was for Israel to allow passage of some trailers containing Turkish aid for Gaza, stuck for months in an Israeli port. Yediot claims that Erdogan even threw in a sweetener:

Yesterday, the Turks conveyed messages, and requested to reconsider the transfer of the trailers to Gaza — which would soften to some degree the criticism they suffered in the Arab world due to their support. Along with this, the Turks explained, if Israel would permit the trailers to reach the Gaza Strip, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government would be able to assist in preventing the protest cruise of a Turkish Muslim organization to Gaza — a cruise that could develop into a diplomatic incident if seen through.

UPDATE: YNet ran a contradictory report on May 11:

Erdogan backs sail to Gaza

Turkish leader tells organizers he supports efforts to 'break oppressive siege on Gaza Strip'

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told organizers of a sail to Gaza Tuesday that he would support them in their efforts to "break the oppressive siege on the Gaza Strip".

The independent Palestinian news agency PNN reported that during the Istanbul meeting with members of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) Erdogan said the breaking of the siege was "at the top of Turkey's list of priorities".

He said he would also support efforts to rebuild "what the Israeli war machine destroyed 15 months ago".

Israel's recent acceptance into the ranks of the OECD also came up. "We must force Israel to lift the siege on Gaza and respect human rights as a condition for its acceptance into any international organization," Erdogan said.

Arafat Madi, who heads the ECESG, told the Turkish leader, "Turkey's part in lifting the siege on Gaza is very important – with regard to the official international positions which are not effective."


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