The European Jewish Congress (EJC) on Monday expressed regret over the recent deterioration in the historic relations between Israel and Turkey since the release of the United Nations report which investigated the deadly IDF raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla on May 31 2010.
EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor said in a statement that with all the recent events in the Middle East, the Turkey-Israel relationship is especially vital.
“The strategic partnership and close cooperation between Israel and Turkey for the last few decades have proven a significant anchor of stability for the Middle East,” Kantor said. “This is not just a relationship of mutual interests but an important pillar of global security.”
Upon the release of the UN report of the secretary-general’s panel of inquiry on the May 31 2010 flotilla incident, Turkey lowered diplomatic relations to the lowest level and threatened further steps if their demands are not met.
These demands include a full apology, compensation of the families of the victims and the ending of Israel’s defensive blockade against Gaza, something the UN report described as “a legitimate security measure”.
The EJC echoed the words of the report, which recommends that Turkey and Israel should resume full diplomatic relations or there may be disastrous unseen consequences.
Turkey’s reluctance to comply by the recommendations of the report is unfortunate, the representative body of European Jewish communities said, and is not helpful towards their efforts towards membership of the European Union.
“We hope that both Israel and Turkey will implement the recommendations of the report as a roadmap to return relations to normal, including regret for the loss of life which Israel has already provided,” Kantor said.
“Both sides agreed to the panel of inquiry and had their voices heard. It is highly unfortunate for the findings to be ignored because they do not meet either party’s maximum demands.”
Kantor said he hoped that Turkey would remain a tolerant and moderating country for Jews and Muslims, as it has been for many centuries.