The U.S. State Department expressed concern Thursday about deteriorating relations between Turkey and Israel, but endorsed the findings of a United Nations report on a violent May 2010 Gaza flotilla raid that Turkey dismisses.
"We are concerned and we are urging both sides to try to come back to a place where they can work together and collaborate on the very important issues that they share in the region," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
Nuland added that the U.S. considered the UN's Palmer Report "thorough and appropriate," as well as credible. In contrast, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said the report "is null and void for us."
Turkey suspended its military and defense ties with Israel on Tuesday and increased its belligerent rhetoric toward the Jewish state.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said warships would escort future Turkish aid ships to Gaza. "Turkish warships, in the first place, are authorized to protect our ships that carry humanitarian aid to Gaza," he told Al-Jazeera. "From now on, we will not let these ships be attacked by Israel, as happened with the Freedom Flotilla."
Erdogan also announced that Turkey will increase the presence of Turkish warships in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Prime Minister plans to visit Egypt, Tunisia and Libya next week, and reportedly is considering visiting the Gaza Strip. Erdogan will speak at the meeting of foreign ministers of the Arab League in Cairo, where he is expected to discredit Israel, discuss taking the issue of the legality of the Gaza blockade to the International Court of Justice, and lend support to the Palestinian's statehood recognition bid planned for this month at the United Nations.
The United States will veto any bid for statehood before the UN Security Council, " Nuland said. "It should not come as a shock to anyone in this room that the U.S. opposes a move in New York by the Palestinians to try to establish a state that can only be achieved through negotiations. So yes, if a – something comes to a vote in the UN Security Council, the U.S. will veto."