Israel-Turkey flotilla talks break down: source

Date: 7/6/2011

By Mustafa Ozer | AFP – Wed, Jul 6, 2011

Israel and Turkey failed to reach agreement after more than a year of UN–sponsored talks on the assault by Israeli troops of a Gaza–bound ship killing nine Turks, a Turkish source said Thursday.

Neither Israel nor Turkey signed a UN report on the Israeli raid on Turkish ship Mavi Marmara in May last year, which was to be handed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki–moon later Thursday, the source told AFP requesting anonymity.

The Mavi Marmara was leading a flotilla to the Palestinian territory, subject of an Israeli–imposed blockade, when an intervention by Israeli security forces ended in bloodshed.

Following the May 31 raid Turkey withdrew its ambassador in Tel Aviv, vowing that bilateral relations "would never be the same."

Israel refused to sign the report after a commission of inquiry concluded that its forces had acted in an "excessive" manner by swooping on the Mavi Marmara a long way from the Gaza Strip and without giving a final warning to the vessel.

"Non–violent options should have been used in the first instance," the Turkish source quoted the report as saying.

The dead and wounded resulting from the raid were "unacceptable," the report added.

Turkey's refusal to sign off on the report stemmed from the fact that it did not say Israel's blockade of Gaza was illegal, the source told AFP.


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