Turkey Threatens Reprisals if Israel Halts Flotilla for Gaza
by MainStreet, Fri May 28, 2010 at 03:56:01 PM EDT
The Middle East Affairs Information Center reported this news, although it cannot be verified until the Turkish government acknowledges that such a threat was made through diplomatic channels. But it is clear that either way, Israel has lost an ally, one who has become an adversary instead, based on its war crimes (UN Goldstone Report) during the Gaza massacre of 2008. We all recall the Turkish PM Ergodan dressing down Israeli President Peres in a meeting then walking out.
The last information about the flotilla is that it postponed a late Friday entry into Gaza waters until Saturday.
Here are the details about Turkey's threat; presumably the reprisal discussed is mainly economic.
The Turkish government sent a secret message to Jerusalem Monday, May 24, threatening reprisals if the Israeli Navy prevents the “Freedom Flotilla” of nine boats from reaching the Gaza Strip on May 27 for the avowed objects of breaking Israel’s blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory and delivering humanitarian aid.
Debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report that the Turkish message was an ultimatum to Israel threatening retaliation against Israeli interests. It is backed by the unreported presence of one or more helicopters on one or more of the Turkish vessels for challenging Israeli Air Force support for the naval blockade.
On May 14 the Rachel Corrie set sail from the port of Dundalk in Ireland, the first ship of the aid flotilla for the Gaza Strip organized by a coalition of pro-Palestinian organizations in Europe and Turkey. On May 22 the Mavi Marmaris set sail from the Sarayburnu (Seraglio Point) port in Istanbul. It is the first of three Turkish ships planning to sail to the Gaza Strip (the other two cargo ships set sail from Turkey Sunday, May 23). The ships will rendezvous en route off the coast of Cyprus with vessels from the UK, Greece, Algeria, Ireland, Sweden and Kuwait and from there sail to the Gaza Strip, arriving between May 26 and 28, where they will anchor in the Gaza harbor which has been deepened by the de facto Hamas administration to be able to receive them.
The ships and passengers: A total of nine ships are expected to arrive off the Gaza shore, carrying between 800 and 1000 passengers from 40 countries (according to some reports more than nine ships may arrive). The Turkish ship is expected to carry 600 passengers, most of whom boarded in Antalya. They include members of parliament, human rights activists and media correspondents. There is also a group of Israeli Arabs, one of whom, sheikh Ra’ed Salah, participated in the launching ceremony at the port in Istanbul (Ma’an News Agency, IHH website, May 20, 2010).
Just another note considering the silence of American news media on the flotilla, in a biased article, the NYT finally reported on it.
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