Palestinian civil society welcomes Turkey’s Decision to Suspend All Military Ties with Israel and Lower Diplomatic Relations
Occupied Palestine, 7 September 2011
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the broad Palestinian civil society coalition that acts as the Palestinian reference point of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, welcomes the recent decision by the Turkish government to impose limited sanctions on Israel and hopes that it is implemented from today as announced.
On September 2, the Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced that the Turkish government would downgrade its diplomatic relations with Israel and suspend all military relations with Israel. Davutoğlu gave today, September 7, as the deadline for Israel to withdraw all diplomatic personnel above the second-secretary level.
This decision comes only two months after the BNC launched its call for an immediate and comprehensive military embargo on Israel.
Turkey imported more than double the amount of arms from Israel than any other country in 2009 and was the second largest importer of Israeli arms in 2010.
The people of Turkey have consistently shown overwhelming solidarity with the struggle for Palestinian rights, most notably with their mobilization for the 2010 Freedom Flotilla, which led to the brutal killing of eight Turkish citizens and one US citizen of Turkish origin by the Israeli military. The Turkish government has long been aware of the unpopularity of its support for the Israeli war industry and oppression.
Jamal Juma, Stop the Wall campaign coordinator and BNC secretariat member, said:
“In the context of the Arab Spring, this decision should be seen as a victory not only for Palestinians but also for all movements, civil society organizations and people of conscience that have shown solidarity with Palestinians and demonstrated to their governments the strength of public support for the Palestinian struggle. The Turkish government decision is clearly a result of the hugely unpopular nature of its support for Israel.”
“That Turkey, formerly such a staunch ally of Israel, has taken this step shows that governments are finding it increasingly difficult to justify their support for Israel’s regime of colonisation, occupation and apartheid. Where international institutions such as the UN are failing to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law, the call for BDS is being heeded in the corridors of power, providing a concrete tool with which international diplomacy can be used in support of Palestinian rights.”
“Palestinian civil society, as broadly represented in the BNC, reiterates its call to the movements and people of conscience in Turkey and around the world to mobilize for an immediate and comprehensive military embargo against Israel.”