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Davutoğlu disappointed over US vote against UN’s flotilla report

Posted by seumasach on October 1, 2010

Today’s Zaman

1st October, 2010

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has expressed disappointment over the fact that Turkey’s ally the United States cast the lone vote on Wednesday against the endorsement by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) of a report that said Israel’s May 31 effort to stop a flotilla of ships from reaching the Gaza Strip was illegal.

The European Union also got its share from Davutoğlu’s resentment as the seven EU member states on the body abstained, joining the US in saying that the text failed to recognize that another flotilla inquiry set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took primacy.

Speaking to reporters in Boston following the voting in Geneva on Wednesday, Davutoğlu first of all stressed his pleasure over the endorsement of a resolution by the UNHRC.

The Council voted 30 to 1, with 15 abstentions, to adopt a resolution sponsored by Pakistan. The text “welcomes” the report by a three-person panel appointed by the Geneva-based council, “endorses the conclusions” and recommends that the UN General Assembly consider further action.

Recalling that Turkey has thanked those countries that supported the idea of establishing the fact-finding mission of the UNHRC, Davutoğlu said Turkey’s thanks back then had also been offered on behalf of human rights and international conscience.

“Now, I thank you once more. Those countries that contributed to the endorsement of this report didn’t only support a resolution presented by Turkey and friendly countries, at the same time they also lent their weight to the respect for human rights and international law and displayed their sensitivity concerning human rights,” Davutoğlu was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.

The Israeli raid on an international aid flotilla on May 31 resulted in the death of eight Turks and one Turkish-American. Turkey, in turn, condemned Israel’s actions in the strongest terms and demanded an apology as a condition for the normalization of relations.

The flotilla raid report, presented to the council on Tuesday, said Israel had committed “grave violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law” in the incident in international waters off the coast of Gaza.

Davutoğlu, however, said he has been “deeply disappointed” over the absence of such sensitivity by Turkey’s friendly and allied countries. “There was an attack against a civilian ship and a civilian group that took place in international waters 72 miles away from the shore; there are nine deceased people; there are many more injured people; there are human rights violations. Before everything else, we would expect all countries, friendly and allied countries, to display sensitivity – which they always display concerning human rights – here in this case too,” he continued.

“We expect and want the allied countries to regard this issue both as a violation of human rights and as an issue of solidarity,” Davutoğlu said, while voicing disappointment over the US vote against the resolution.

The minister, meanwhile, called on the European countries to consider whether abstention on an issue concerning respect for human rights and international law is compliant with European principles.

“The abstention of the EU members on this issue is a position that contradicts all human rights principles endorsed by the EU. Today, European human rights principles need to be sustained.”

Also on Wednesday, the UNHRC renewed the mandate of a separate investigation team that has been looking into whether Israelis and Palestinians have been properly investigating alleged rights abuses during the 3-week Gaza conflict in 2008-2009.

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