'Turkish FM to flotilla organizers: Reconsider Gaza plans'

Ahmet Davutoğlu advises delaying of flotilla departure to see how situation in Gaza changes with opening of Rafah, 'Hurriyet' reports.

June 6, 2011 20:05
1 minute read.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday advised organizers of a protest flotilla scheduled to head to Gaza in late June to delay its departure until the effects of the Rafah crossing opening on Gaza are seen, Turkish daily Today’s Zaman reported citing a Hürriyet report.

This is the first time Davutoglu has suggested the flotilla organizers reconsider their plans, the report said, after he previously rejected international appeals to cancel the attempt to break the naval blockade.

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Last year’s Turkish flotilla to Gaza resulted in the death of nine Turkish men after Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara ship when it refused to stop.

In comments published on Monday by Hürriyet, Davutoglu said the Turkish government could not stop the activities of a “civilian group,” as its work is legal and it is supported internationally.

He said, however, that this time the flotilla organizers should wait to see how the situation in Gaza changes with Egypt’s opening of the Rafah crossing and the expected creation of a Palestinian unity government.

“No one should even imagine that the worst-case scenario could happen,” Davutoglu told Hürriyet.

He also called on Israel to do its part, saying “Israel should wait for the establishment of the new Palestinian government and then lift the blockade of Gaza.”

Israel Navy officials have said that the navy is prepared to intercept and take control of ships participating in the new attempt to break the blockade of Gaza.

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