STEPHEN KINZER (“Turkey’s new challenges,’’ Op-ed, June 14) took bold liberties when he recklessly accused Israeli commandos of “the murder of nine Turkish civilians’’ in a June 2010 incident.
Israeli commandos did intercept six ships that were attempting to run a blockade of Gaza. Five of them were peacefully boarded and directed to an Israeli port. There, relief supplies were unloaded and transferred to Gaza. In the case of the sixth ship, Israeli commandos, armed with nothing more than paint ball guns, were attacked by militants associated with the IHH, an Islamic extremist group with alleged ties to the Turkish government, Hamas, and, some suspect, Al Qaeda.
Videos of the incident documented that that the lives of the boarding commandos were in danger. It was then that fellow soldiers acted to defend their peers, resulting in a tragic loss of life.
Kinzer claims that rebuilding relations with Israel should be one of Turkey’s three major foreign policy challenges. Shrill and unfounded assertions, however, will not facilitate this worthy goal.
American Jewish Committee Boston