European ministers urge Turkey-Israel dialogue

3rd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

European foreign ministers including France's Alain Juppe and Germany's Guido Westerwelle on Saturday urged Israel and Turkey to resume dialogue after a rift over a deadly Israeli flotilla raid.

"Our wishes are like those of the UN secretary general who said that this dispute between Israel and Turkey must be resolved through dialogue and mutual understanding, not via other means," Juppe told reporters at an informal EU foreign ministers meeting in the Polish Baltic Sea port of Sopot.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon appealed Saturday for Turkey and Israel to make up after Ankara took retaliatory measures over the Jewish state's May 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound Turkish flotilla which left eight Turks dead.

"The German government is very worried by the recent dispute between Turkey and Israel," Westerwelle said at a separate press conference in Sopot Saturday, at once urging dialogue by "all parties" to seek a solution.

Their words were a message sent loud and clear to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who was pressing his country's bid to join the EU at the Sopot meeting Saturday.

Israel on Friday reiterated its refusal to apologise to Ankara for the raid. Meanwhile, NATO-member Turkey suspended bilateral military ties with Israel and expelled Israeli ambassador Gaby Levy.

The Turkish measures came after a leaked copy of the UN-mandated report criticised Israeli troops for using "excessive" and "unreasonable" force when boarding the ferry Mavi Marmara in international waters on May 31, 2010, leading to the deaths of nine people.

© 2011 AFP

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