US: Turkel report fine, but UN flotilla panel better

State Department official says Israel capable of carrying out “impartial and transparent” investigation despite Turkey's criticism of findings.

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, DAN IZENBERG
January 25, 2011 07:04
1 minute read.
The 'Mavi Marmara'

Mavi Marmara 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

 
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WASHINGTON – The US on Monday welcomed the release of the Turkel Commission report on the Turkish flotilla incident, but said the “primary forum” for examining the event was the international committee operating under the auspices of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said that Israel was capable of carrying out an “impartial and transparent” investigation despite Turkey’s criticism of the findings.

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Turkel’s commission found that Israel acted legally in establishing and enforcing the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip; and in the way it secured the ships that were trying to reach Gaza.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday dismissed the Turkel Committee's findings, telling reporters in Ankara that the report had "no value or credibility."

The Turks carried out their own investigation into the incident which found that Israel carried out a premeditated attack on the flotilla, which was carrying humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip.

Nine pro-Palestinian activists — eight Turkish citizens, and a Turkish American — were killed when Israeli commandos boarded a ship in the flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, on May 31.

In New York, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said investigators there had received a copy of the Israeli report.

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"As you know, to help complete their important mandate it is essential for the (UN) panel to review material provided by both sides, Israel and Turkey," he said.

The UN panel of experts investigating the flotilla incident is led by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer and includes both a Turkish and an Israeli representative. Israel's representative on the UN investigative panel is Joseph Ciechanover, who formerly served as bureau chief of the Foreign Ministry and as legal counsel for the Defense Ministry.

The Associated Press and JPost.com staff contributed to this report.

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