Turkey: Restored ties won’t halt criticism of Israel on Gaza
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Turkey: Restored ties won’t halt criticism of Israel on Gaza

Ankara foreign ministry denounces Israeli strikes on Palestinian enclave, days after ratifying reconciliation deal

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, gestures as he welcomes Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto for a meeting in Ankara on August 23, 2016. (AFP/ADEM ALTAN)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, gestures as he welcomes Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto for a meeting in Ankara on August 23, 2016. (AFP/ADEM ALTAN)

The newly restored ties between Israel and Turkey have not changed Ankara’s position on the Palestinians, the Turkish foreign ministry said Monday as it condemned Israel’s airstrikes in the Gaza Strip a day earlier.

“The normalization of ties with Israel does not compel us to remain silent on the attacks against the Palestinian people in Gaza,” the ministry said in a statement, according to the Anatolia news agency.

“We will continue to protect the Palestinians from Israeli actions that violate the law and human conscience,” the statement said.

The Israel Defense Forces carried out a series of airstrikes in the Gaza Strip late Sunday, targeting 50 Hamas positions in response to a Palestinian rocket attack that hit the Israeli border town of Sderot.

The foreign ministry’s statement came as Turkish police arrested five people who earlier on Monday tried to break into Israel’s consulate in Istanbul to protest the Israeli bombardment.

The incident came days after Turkey’s parliament approved a reconciliation pact reached with Israel last month, ending a six-year rift and paving the way for the mutual re-appointment of ambassadors.

Already tense relations between the former allies imploded in 2010 following an Israeli naval raid on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish aid ship trying to breach Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The raid left 10 Turks dead and several IDF soldiers wounded.

Under the terms of the reconciliation agreement, Israel will pay a “lump sum” of $20 million in compensation to the victims within 25 days. Individual Israeli nationals will not be held criminally or financially liable for the incident.

With the agreement, Israel also eased slightly the blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, transferring humanitarian aid from Ankara through Israel’s border crossings with the Strip.

On Saturday, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek said he intended to visit Israel in the near future.

Israel’s security cabinet approved the reconciliation agreement in June.

AP contributed to this report.

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