Gaza-based terror groups welcomed on Friday Turkey’s decision to downgrade its relations with Israel, after the latter refused to apologize for killing nine IHH terrorists on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara last year.
“Hamas welcomes the decision (of Turkey) to expel the Israeli ambassador and considers it as a clear answer to Israeli crimes,” Sami Abu Zuhri, a spokesman for Hamas, told AFP.
Hamas also criticized the Palmer Report, which was published on Friday, as “unfair and unbalanced,” and Abu Zuhri condemned Israel for “its continued refusal to take responsibility for the crime (of the raid) and its refusal to lift the siege on Gaza.”
Israel’s Channel 2 News reported that Hamas sent a message to Turkey in which it welcomed its decision and said the move “is a correct retaliation for Israel’s arrogance and its attack on the Gaza flotilla.”
“We identify with Turkey and especially with the family members of the victims who paid with their lives for rallying to promote the just issue of the Palestinians,” Hamas said in the message.
The Islamic Jihad, another Gaza-based terror group, also welcomed Turkey’s decision. Channel 2 reported that a spokesperson for the group’s political bureau said Turkey’s expelling the Israeli ambassador is “a positive move that demonstrates the strength of importance of the Palestinians in the eyes of the Turks and strengthens them to stand firmly against the Israeli aggression.”
Earlier on Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said his country was reducing its diplomatic presence in Israel and suspending military agreements until the Jewish state issued a “full apology” for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals during the IDF’s boarding of the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara in 2010.
Davutoglu added said some of the Palmer Report’s findings were unacceptable.
The report concluded Israel faces “a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”
Israel remained unfazed by Turkey’s decision, with officials saying that while Israel regrets the loss of lives on the Marmara, it will not apologize for defending itself.