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Turkey urges world not to let Israeli raid slip into oblivion

02 March 2011 [16:15] - TODAY.AZ
A high-level session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) devoted to Libya offered Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu an opportunity to renew his country's call to not let Israel push the tragedy stemming from its lethal raid on a Turkish aid ship into oblivion.

"Following the Israeli assault that targeted the humanitarian aid flotilla on May 31, 2010, the council, to its credit, reacted without delay and without hesitation. It held an urgent debate and dispatched an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law resulting from the Israeli attacks," Davutoğlu said, addressing the council in Geneva on Monday.

"Some members of the council voted against the establishment of the fact-finding mission. Some others abstained. However, in the end, wisdom prevailed. I salute those who acted as the council's true conscience. I must warn those who voted against or abstained. Such positions carry the risk of emboldening those countries who persistently violate human rights. One day others may follow suit. In the end it may be one or more of your countrymen whose rights are violated in the gravest manner. On that day it will be those countries that look upon this council for solutions," he said.

In September, Turkey's ally the United States cast the lone vote against the endorsement by the 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 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.

"Unfortunately, the New York process, the Palmer Commission has not produced results. Israel is using this mechanism to push the issue into oblivion and prevent the international community from taking action," Davutoğlu said, referring to the UN panel.

However, Davutoğlu's US counterpart, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, in her address, suggested that the UNHRC must abandon "its bias" against Israel which undermines its work.

"The structural bias against Israel -- including a standing agenda item for Israel, whereas all other countries are treated under a common item -- is wrong. And it undermines the important work we are trying to do together," she told the UNHRC.

In the Swiss city, Davutoğlu and Clinton, accompanied by their delegations, on Monday held a one-hour-long meeting during which developments in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Yemen as well as Iran's nuclear program and its uranium enrichment activities were discussed, the Anatolia news agency reported. The two also talked about Clinton's upcoming visit to Turkey, but the exact date was not set, Anatolia said.

The EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, Bosnia and Herzegovina's Foreign Minister Sven Alkalaj, Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger and Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd were other leaders with whom Davutoğlu held separate bilateral talks. Iran's nuclear program and its uranium enrichment activities were also one of the main topics during talks between Davutoğlu and Ashton, Anatolia said.

In Geneva, the Turkish minister also paid a visit to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the world's leading particle physics research institute, and held conversations with Turkish scientists working there, the agency said.

/World Bulletin/

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