NATO capabilities could not be used by Israel, the Turkish president said, reaffirming a condition of the country’s support for the alliance’s United States-led missile defense project.
“Israel is not a member of NATO and any cooperation is not a point in the issue. I explicitly say in principle this is not possible,” President Abdullah Gül told Euronews during an interview Friday.
During talks prior to a recent NATO summit, Turkey said it would only support the defense project if the alliance agreed to the condition it would not share intelligence with non-NATO members. This was a veiled reference to Israel, given the U.S.’ alleged ambition that the project protect that country against a possible attack from Iran. In these most recent comments, Gül has explicitly ruled out the possibility of Israel accessing NATO resources and capabilities.
Asked if Turkey still considers Israel a friend and ally, Gül said the relationship was still strained by the Mavi Marmara incident, when eight Turkish citizens and an American of Turkish origin were killed during an Israeli raid. “The Mavi Marmara has changed a lot of things. The Israeli army attacked a ship in the middle of the Mediterranean that was attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza and Israel unfortunately killed lots of people,” Gül said.
Gül said any country affiliated with international law could immediately address such a situation by implementing international law. “Israel is yet to compensate for this situation. Accordingly, we cannot forget it,” he said, adding that Israel had lost the friendship of both Turkey and the Turkish people.
Asked if there was a difference between Turkish and Western perceptions regarding Iran, Gül said it was normal for Turkey to be sensitive toward its neighbors, adding that the problems in Iraq were solved through war rather than diplomacy, and then the Iraqi people and neighboring countries paid the cost.
Gül dismissed suggestions that Turkey’s foreign policy has shifted axis. “Turkey has become a junction,” he said, adding that other neighboring countries, such as Germany and France, and the U.S. and Canada, maintained their highest international trade volumes with each other.
Source : Hurriyet