Turks deny Turkel C'tee's request to probe Marmara capt.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
September 15, 2010 14:44

Ankara refuses to help internal investigation of Gaza flotilla; emphasizes that incident isn't over until Israel apologizes for raid.

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The Mavi Marmara ship, aboard which Israel's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla took place on May

Mavi Marmara 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Turkey denied the Turkel Committee's request to hear testimony from the captain of the Mavi Marmara, Channel Two reported on Wednesday. The Turkel Committee is investigating the May 31 raid of the Turkish flotilla ship the Mavi Marmara in which nine pro-Palestinian activists were killed while attempting to break Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Turkey formed its own committee to investigate the flotilla incident which has already heard testimony from the Mavi Marmara's captain and crew. According to the Channel Two report, the Turks have already sent the committee's findings to the UN and have expressed that Israel can look at the testimony of the captain contained within the existing report if they believe it can aid their investigation.

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The Turks also emphasized that the flotilla incident will not be over until Israel apologizes for killing nine Turkish activists during the raid and pays their families reparations. Israel claims its soldiers were attacked by the activists and acted in self defense.

The Turkel Committee requested Captain Tural Mahmut's presence to give testimony on the incident in a letter sent to the Turkish Embassy on Sunday.

Mahmut was the first non-Israeli to be called before the committee. So far, the committee has taken testimony from senior IDF officials as well as Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

According to an Army Radio report that came out following the raid of the Mavi Marmara, the ship's captain told Israeli investigators that prior to the raid he had tried to prevent IHH activists from engaging in violent clashes with IDF soldiers.

The captain told his investigators that he, as well as several of the ship's staff, did everything in their power to prevent violence, including throwing the IHH members' metal pipes and chains overboard.


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