Turkish opposition slams Israel normalization


ANKARA : The Turkish op­position has harshly criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan’s recent political maneu­vers, including the normaliza­tion of ties with Israel.

Opposition parties on Tuesday blasted Recep Tayy­ip Erdogan’s recent back-to-back reconciliation with Is­rael and expression of regret over the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey, Hürriyet Daily News reported.

On Monday, Israel and Turkey announced they would normalize ties after a six-year rupture caused by the killing of Gaza-bound Turkish activ­ists by Israeli forces.

Hours after the an­nouncement, Moscow said the Turkish head of state had “apologized” to Russian President Vladimir Putin in a letter over the shooting down of a Russian aircraft near the Syrian border back in November 2015.

Turkey, however, later said it had not “apologized,” saying it had expressed regret and condolences with the fam­ily of one of the pilots of the jet who was killed in the incident.

Slamming the normal­ization agreement, Kemal K?l?cdaroglu, the head of the main opposition Repub­lican People’s Party (CHP), asked, “How can you sign such a deal?… Are you with your country, with justice or with those Israeli sol­diers who killed [Turkish citizens]?”

“Turkey faced an action [by Israel, which was] suitable for a pirate state,” he added, expressing further wonder at the rapprochement.

Figen Yuksekdag, the co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), also said the most crucial item of the deal with Israel was selling “Palestinian” natural gas to Europe.

“They are making a deal to market what belongs to orphan children in Pales­tine,” she said. “They are selling the words that they call ‘sacred’ at another bar­gaining table.”

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bah­celi, meanwhile, said the deal sharply contrasted Erdogan’s stiff criticism of Israeli aggres­sion in the past.

“The president had repeat­edly accused Israel of being a terror state. Israel was killing Gazan children on beaches. Erdogan was rightfully criti­cizing this heavily. He said Israel even surpassed Hitler in barbarism,” he said. “This means that the government has been meeting with Israel for years secretly and we were not aware of this.”

K?l?cdaroglu and Yuksek­dag also vented anger at the expression of condolences to Moscow over the downing of the Russian jet, which Ankara said had violated Turkish air­space near Syria.

“Who are you to apologize? If you are to represent the Turkish Republic, then do it in a proper way,” K?l?cdaroglu said. “You cannot represent the Turkish Republic. You don’t have the power or capa­bility for this.”

“Who breached our bor­der? The Russians. Who set the rules of engagement? We did it, and we declared it to the whole world.”

Yuksekdag said Erdogan had apologized for the down­ing of the jet but was pretend­ing to have only offered an ex­pression of regret.



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