The Turkish ship Mavi Marmara leaves Istanbul May 22, 2010, aiming to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday criticized the charity group that organized the 2010 Gaza-bound flotilla, which was raided by Israeli commandos and led to a six-year diplomatic rift between Ankara and Jerusalem.
Speaking at a traditional Ramadan iftar dinner in Ankara, Erdogan said that back in 2010 when he served as prime minister, the Islamic charity group had not asked for his permission to send the six ship flotilla intended to breach the naval blockade of Gaza, Turkey's Daily Sabah reported.
Erdogan denounced the Istanbul-based Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) for undermining the recently signed reconciliation deal
with Israel after the group criticized the accord on Monday.
The IHH denounced the agreement for the restoration of diplomatic ties between Ankara and Jerusalem as amounting to the acceptance of Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip
In his speech Wednesday, Erdogan asserted that the deal was a positive development for the Palestinians and that it had been reached on the basis of mutual benefit.
"We were already delivering the same amount of humanitarian aid to Gaza, but without making an appearance. Now we have Israel's promise, all aid supplies to Gaza will be permitted from now on," the Daily Sabah quoted Erdogan as saying.
Under the deal signed Tuesday, Turkey is permitted to send humanitarian aid to Gaza through Israel's southern Ashdod Port.
The accord normalized relations that had been ruptured between Israel and Turkey since flotilla incident, in which 10 pro-Palestinian activists on board the Turkish MV Mavi Marmara
sihp were killed in a raid by Israeli commandos attempting to stop the breach.
According to Reuters, Turkey's Islamist-leaning AK Party government publicly supported the flotilla in 2010 and had urged Israel to let it pass, saying the initiative was purely humanitarian.
Then-deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc denied Ankara gave any instructions to the IHH.Reuters contributed to this report.
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