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Turkish Prime Minister Recept Tayyip Erdogan stated that Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip on Saturday’s (27 December), in which over 320 Palestinians were killed and 800 injured, was a “crime against humanity.” “To go and bomb these defenseless people, and to openly say that this operation will be a long-lasting one . . . is a serious crime against humanity,” stated the Prime Minister. As a result, Erdogan announced that he had frozen contacts with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert.
Turkey had been mediating negotiations between Israel and Syria, the latter of which announced it was suspending all talks with Israel following the attacks on Gaza.
Last week the Israeli media reported that the Turkish Air Force had signed a US$141 million deal with Israeli military companies Elbit Systems Ltd. and Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) for air and space imagery intelligence systems.
Elbit Systems Ltd. describes itself as “the major avionics supplier and systems integrator for Israeli Air Force (IAF) helicopters,” the supplier and operator of “the new light trainer aircraft for the IAF,” and the provider of “logistics support services for fixed wing aircraft and helicopters such as repair, maintenance and supply of spare parts to the IAF.”
The products and services of Elbit Systems Ltd. and IAI directly and indirectly assisted the Israeli air force on Saturday to drop 100 tonnes of bombs onto the Gaza Strip, killing and wounding indiscriminately.
Especially in light of Prime Minister Erdogan’s public opposition to Israel’s war crimes against the Gaza Strip, please urge Turkey to cancel this deal with the Israeli military companies that directly and indirectly contribute to the actions of the Israeli air force and Israeli military more generally.
Contacts for the Turkish Consulate in East Jerusalem:
Fax: +972 (2) 582 0214
Or find your nearest Turkish Embassy or Consulate at <www.allaboutturkey.com/turkconsulate.htm>.
Connie Hackbarth is Executive Director of the Alternative Information Center (AIC). This article was first published by the AIC on 29 December 2008.