Turkey summons US envoy mandate of UN probeinto ısraeli flotilla raid
Turkey summoned a top US diplomat to complain about what it saw as an attempt to define the mandate of a UN probe on Israel's deadly raid on Gaza-bound aid ships, a Turkish diplomat said yesterday. Doug Silliman, the deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Ankara and the top diplomat there until the new ambassador arrives, was called to the Foreign Ministry on Monday "for a reprimand," after UN chief Ban Ki-moon announced the creation of a four-member panel to investigate the raid that killed eight Turks and one Turkish-American, the diplomat said on condition of anonymity. The reprimand was delivered over comments by US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice saying the UN inquiry was "not a substitute" for national investigations being carried out by Israel and Turkey. "The US is viewing the commission from a narrow perspective," said the diplomat. "Rice's statement seemed to give the impression the US was determining the commission's work." Ankara also objected to the US view that the panel was meant to mend once-strong Turkish-Israeli ties that took a precipitous plunge following the May 31 raid on the aid ships. "The raid is an issue between the international community and Israel, not between Turkey and Israel," said the diplomat. "There were people from 30 different countries on those ships." He added, "This commission is tasked with investigating the incident. Its duty is not to absolve Israel or improve Turkish-Israeli ties." After the deadly raid, Ankara denounced it as a violation of international law, immediately recalled its ambassador, and canceled three planned joint military exercises with Israel. Although Turkey has welcomed the UN probe, it says Israel must apologize for the raid, pay compensation for the victims, and lift the blockade of Gaza if it wants bilateral ties mended.