Turkey condemns Itamar attack, settlements

16 March 2011, Wednesday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL

Turkey has condemned Friday’s gruesome attack in the settlement town of Itamar in the West Bank in which an Israeli family was fatally stabbed as they slept, but also slammed the Israeli government’s decision to build new settlements in response to the attack as “unacceptable.”

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are a clear violation of international law. The statement, which was dated March 12 but was sent to the press late on Monday, said the enlargement of settlements on any pretext is “unacceptable.” Friday night’s attack has drawn international condemnation. A young couple and three of their children, including a 4-year-old boy and his 3-month-old sister, were killed in the grisly attack. In response to the attack, Israel defiantly announced new plans to build up to 500 new homes in settlements located in major blocs next to Israel. Israel expects to keep these blocs, home to the vast majority of Israel’s 300,000 West Bank settlers, under any future peace deal.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry’s statement also noted that no matter what its justification, similar terror attacks targeting innocent children by violating the most fundamental right — the right to life — are “also unacceptable.” Turkey’s statement added that it hopes the perpetrators will be immediately arrested and brought to justice.

Israeli navy intercepts ship with arms, says Turkey not involved

The Israeli navy intercepted an Egyptian-bound ship that left a Turkish port carrying a large delivery of weapons off the country’s Mediterranean coast on Tuesday, the Israeli military said.

The military added that the cargo vessel Victoria stopped in the Port of Mersin but insisted that Turkey had no involvement in the shipment. The ship is German-owned, operated by a French shipping company and flying under a Liberian flag, the military said. The Israeli military added that the vessel had set off from the Syrian port of Latakia and stopped in Turkey’s Mersin, before heading towards Alexandria in Egypt. Israel’s announcement that Turkey was not involved in the arms shipment appeared to be an effort to diffuse any potential tensions with its former Mideast ally.

Turkey condemns Itamar attack, settlements.

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