We protest in the strongest terms the use of force by the Israeli Defense Forces against the civilians from many countries who want to transport humanitarian assistance to the people in Gaza, and among whom there are women and children, which, according to the initial information available, resulted in the death of 2 persons and injury of more than 30 people.
Israel has once again clearly demonstrated that it does not value human lives and peaceful initiatives through targeting innocent civilians. We strongly condemn these inhuman acts of Israel. This grave incident which took place in high seas in gross violation of international law might cause irreversible consequences in our relations.
Besides the initiatives being conducted by our Embassy in Tel Aviv, this unacceptable incident is being strongly protested and explanation is demanded from Israeli Ambassador in Ankara, who has been invited to our Ministry.
Whatsoever the motives might be, such actions against civilians who are involved only in peaceful activities cannot be accepted. Israel will have to bear the consequences of these actions which constitute a violation of international law.
May God bestow His mercy upon those who lost their lives. We wish to express our condolences to the bereaved families of the deceased, and swift recovery to the wounded.
This statement was first published on the Web site of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 31 May 2010. See, also, “Israel Attacks Turkish Free Gaza Ship: 16 Killed, According to Israeli Army Radio.”