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Turkey President: Expulsion of Israeli ambassador is just the first step

The expulsion of Israel’s ambassador over an Israeli raid of a Turkish aid flotilla is just one step in many possible measures taken against Israel if it persists in its refusal to apologize for the incident, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said on Friday. Gul’s comment comes just hours after Turkish FM announced a downgrade of Turkey-Israel ties over Israel’s refusal to apologize for the death of 9 Turkish nationals in a 2010 raid.

Gul said that Israel apparently “did not understand how determined Turkey was to show it has not forgotten the events of the past,” adding that Turkey “would always defend our citizens’ rights,” saying that the “steps announced today were just the first phase.”

“In accordance with Israel’s stance, it is possible that more steps may come in the future,” the Turkish president added, saying of the UN’s Gaza flotilla report that “as far as we’re concerned that reports doesn’t exist.”

Gul also said that Turkey had considered to sanction Israel for its refusal to apologize sooner, but instead waited since it wanted to “give some of our good-willed allies the opportunity to end the crisis.”