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Turkey Blocks Israel From NATO Summit

Turkey has refused to allow Israel to participate in a NATO conference set to take place in Chicago on May 20, because the Israel has not apologized for the 2010 killing of Turkish activists in a raid on a ship taking aid to Palestinians, a Turkish official said on Monday.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu commented on the possible Israeli presence at the conference. “There will be no Israeli presence at the NATO meeting unless they issue a formal apology and pay compensation for the Turkish citizens their commandos killed in international waters,” said Davutoglu last week at a NATO conference in Brussels, according to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News.

Turkish opposition is similar to a veto, and is binding for all NATO member nations. Many member nations, including France, the U.S., as well as Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secratary General, demanded that Turkey reverse its position on Israeli participation in the conference, and even threatened to oppose the participation of Egypt, Morocoo, Mauritania, and Algiera, other non-member nations invited to take part in the NATO “Mediterranan Dialogue” group.

Turkey, however, abrogated any possibility of a reversing its stance on the issue. “The army of a country which you call a partner killed our citizens with a political order given by its administration. We do not call this kind of country a partner,” said Davutoglu.

“I promise that Turkey will be the first to defend citizens of NATO countries in any similar situation. I believe in the principle of solidarity among NATO member nations much more than the principle of discrimination, practiced by some of you,” Davutoglu fired back at his critics.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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