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Sunday, June 26, 2011

UN flotilla report to slam Turkey?

A fascinating Ha'aretz article:

Turkey has asked Israel to agree to a toned-down version of the UN Secretary-General's report on last year's flotilla to Gaza, according to a senior government official in Jerusalem.

According to the official, the Turks are "very worried" about the harsh criticism of Turkey they expect the report to contain, and want Israel to agree to a softened version as part of a package deal to end the crisis between the two countries over the flotilla, which took place in May 2010.

The director general of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Feridun Sinirlioglu, conveyed Turkey's request in a secret meeting early last week in Geneva with Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon.

A draft of the report, due to be released within two weeks, was given to Israel and Turkey about six weeks ago. The committee determined that Israel's naval blockade of Gaza is in keeping with international law, and therefore its actions to stop the flotilla were also legal.

According to a senior government official in Jerusalem, the report criticizes the Turkish government and highlights the relationship between it and IHH, the group that organized the flotilla.

The report also states that, while Israel Defense Forces soldiers acted in self-defense, they used disproportionate force that led to the death of nine Turkish citizens. The report recommends that Israel pay compensation to the families of the dead and injured Turkish citizens, which Israel has already said it is willing to do.

The official said the Turks would like to soften the parts of the report that could cause a political storm in Turkey.
Ha'aretz had an earlier story in May that also mentioned the report was harsh on Turkey and accepted the legality of Israel's blockade.