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UN report prompts Turkey to expel Israeli diplomats

Relations between Turkey and Israel hit a new low Friday, with Turkey downgrading military ties with Israel and expelling its ambassador.

Turkey foreign minister israel expel 2011 09 02Enlarge
Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu at a news conference in Ankara on Sept. 2, 2011. Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador and suspended all military ties with its one-time ally after a U.N. report condemned excessive force used by Israel on a Gaza aid flotilla. (ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Turkey has expelled the Israeli ambassador and suspended military operations between the two countries, on the back of a United Nations report into last year's raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced the moves on Friday, describing some of the details to emerge from the report as "unacceptable".

Israel, in fact, has misused many of the chances that were given to them and the Israeli government, on the other hand, see themselves [as being] above international laws and human conscience.

Turkey lowered diplomatic relations with Israel to second secretary level, recalling all envoys above that grade back to Ankara.

The BBC said that although relations between Turkey and Israel had been frozen since the flotilla raid, Friday's measures mean relations are “being downgraded to the lowest possible level”.

Nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed when Israeli forces stormed the flotilla ship in May 2010. Israel has refused to apologize.

The U.N. report, which was first published when leaked to The New York Times on Thursday, found the raid was legal, although “excessive and unreasonable” force was used.

But Davutoglu said Turkey did not accept this outcome, and would take the matter to the International Court of Justice.

His comments came hours before the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was expected to formally receive the report.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/turkey/110902/turkey-israel-expel-gaza-raid-un-report