Turkish Group Plans 'Flotilla II' to Gaza
The Turkish organization IHH is currently organizing a "Freedom Flotilla II", four years after the 2010 flotilla to Gaza which ended in the raid on the Mavi Marmara, the Middle East Monitor website reports.
The website cited comments by IHH chairman Bulent Yildrim, who said the second flotilla will carry humanitarian aid to Gaza.
In statements to Gulf Online, Yildrim said that his organization has embarked on legal procedures and paperwork required to obtain a permit for the trip. As soon as a final permit is issued, the IHH along with other international organizations will immediately set up the convoy, he reportedly said.
According to Middle East Monitor, Yildrim also said that Turkish army troops will accompany the ships to protect it from any potential attack, pointing out that his organization demanded the government to provide protection for them as Turkish citizens.
In the 2010 flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, which claimed to be providing "humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza," defied orders to turn around and dock at the Ashdod port. After it ignored repeated warnings to change course, the IDF boarded the vessel - only to be attacked by Islamist extremists on board.
The soldiers had no choice but to open fire, resulting in the deaths of nine of the IHH members on board.
After an investigation, Israeli authorities discovered the vessel to be carrying no humanitarian aid - in fact, no aid supplies at all - whatsoever.
That incident caused a breakdown in Israel’s relations with Turkey, as Turkey demanded an apology and compensation from Israel, which refused.
Since the 2010 flotilla, the IHH has been accused of secretly funding the Al-Qaeda terrorist group.
In January, the offices of the IHH were raided by the Turkish anti-terror police.