On the ground in Ankara.
(photo credit: Uri Fields)
has decided to return the ships that took part in the May 31 Gaza-bound
flotilla to Turkey, including the Mavi Marmara, on Friday to prevent further deterioration in relations
between the two countries.
The IHH, which organized the ships of the
flotilla, was demanding last week that Israel provide tug boats to tow the ships
back to Turkey, according to Turkish daily Hurriyet.
As part of the return agreement, Israel received an agreement from Turkey that the
ships would not participate in any future flotillas to Gaza.
Israel holds flotilla ships
slam flotilla c'tee
“Israel has long been dragging its feet and made public that it will not
give the ships back unless the commission inquiry is concluded. I think
the process will last four or five months,” said Salih Bilici of the
“We are only an NGO and how influential can we be? Turkey at every
occasion demands the return of the vessels,” Bilici told Hurriyet.
Hurriyet reported that in past
cases, Israel has required assurances
only from the organizers which send ships to Gaza, but this time Israel
is asking for assurances from Turkey.