Ankara continued to pile unrelenting criticism on Israel on Tuesday, with President Abdullah Gul saying that Israel would be isolated and “suffer the consequences” of its “mistake against Turkey.”
Gul said 21 Asian countries meeting in Istanbul had “expressed their grave concern and condemnation for the actions undertaken by the Israel Defense Forces.”
Israel was the only state at the 22-member Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia forum meeting in Istanbul that did not join the call, he said.
Israel managed to block a joint declaration by the group, whose decisions require consensus, forcing Gul to issue a separate statement.
While Israel continued its policy of not responding publicly to the stream of Turkish jibes, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in New York it was a “mistake” to think that it was possible to change Turkey’s attitude toward Israel through any gesture or efforts, since the negative change in Ankara reflected a strategic change by the Turkish leadership stemming from deep shifts in Turkish society.
Quartet special envoy Tony Blair said in an interview on Channel 10 on Tuesday that the Turkish change was very worrisome. He expressed hope that out of the crisis a new bridge would be built between Israel and Turkey.
Blair, who advocated Turkey joining the EU in 2005, said the cold shoulder the EU gave Turkey led to Ankara’s decision to turn in the direction of Iran.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also used the forum to lambaste Israel, saying the flotilla incident showed Israel’s “violence and hatred and war-mongering attitudes.”
Ahmadinejad, speaking at a press conference, said “the devilish sound of the uncultured Zionists was coming out from their deceit… They were holding up the flag of the devil itself.” The flotilla raid, Ahmadinejad said, “has actually rung the final countdown for its [Israel’s] existence. It shows that it has no room in the region and no one is ready to live alongside it. Actually, no country in the world recognizes it, and you know that the Zionist regime is the backbone of the dictatorial world order.”
A spokesman in the Prime Minister’s Office responded to Ahmadinejad’s statement by saying that it made sense for the Iranian president to discuss dictatorial regimes, since “last summer his regime brutally crushed opposition protesters demonstrating for freedom.”
Israel’s representative at the conference, Ambassador to Turkey Gabby Levy, walked out when Ahmadinejad addressed the session.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also condemned Israel for the raid at the parley, and called for an international inquiry, saying “the fact that it was conducted in neutral waters evokes special regret and requires separate consideration.” J Post. Lieberman: Turkey will not change By HERB KEINON, 06/09/2010 02:08, Ahmadinejad and Turkey lash out at Israel yet again. AP contributed to this report.