IHH says the Mavi Marmara ship did not get the necessary approval from Turkish Government
June 17, 2011 Leave a comment
The Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) announced on Friday that it will not participate in the Gaza flotilla planned for later this month due to technical reasons.
In a press conference held in Istanbul, IHH members said that port authorities in Turkey did not provide them with the necessary approval for the Mavi Marmara ship, on which nine Turkish activists were killed last year during a raid by Israeli commandos, to set sail.
|Pro-Palestinian Turkish activists gathered on the deck of the newly refurbished Mavi Marmara, marking the one year anniversary of Israel’s interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla, May 30, 2011.|
|Photo by: AP|
The IHH’s decision to pull out of the Gaza-bound flotilla may lead to other cancelations of ships that are planned to depart from ports in France, Greece and Spain.
Yet organizers of the flotilla said earlier this week that they are determined to set sail even if the IHH does not participate.
The ships plan to attempt to breach Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel has said the blockade is necessary to prevent weapons from reaching the territory.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for activists to be discouraged from setting sail for Gaza, but Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said it was not within the authority of a democracy to prevent private challenges to what he said was an illegal blockade.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Defense Forces held a large drill on Wednesday in preparation of the flotilla. The drill focused on different scenarios that might occur at sea and methods to deal with them.