Report: Israel holds flotilla ships

Israel Counter-Terrorism Bureau lifts travel restriction on Turkey.

Ship 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Ship 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Israel is seeking written assurances from Turkey that the three IHH ships which it has in its possession, captured during the May 31 Gaza-bound flotilla incident, will not be used for another blockade-running attempt before it agrees to send them back to Turkey, reported Turkish daily Hurriyet Tuesday.
The IHH, which organized the ships of the flotilla, is demanding that Israel provide tug boats to tow the ships back to Turkey, according to Hurriyet. The Israeli Foreign Ministry has yet to respond to the complaint IHH lodged at the Embassy in Tel Aviv.
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“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 IHH.
“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.
Counter-Terrorism Bureau lifts Turkey travel advisory
The Prime Minister’s Office Counter-Terrorism Bureau on Tuesday lifted a travel advisory which recommended that Israelis refrain from visiting Turkey.
The advisory was issued after fears that Israelis would be the victims of negative reactions to the botched raid on the Turkish flotilla.
The bureau released a statement on Tuesday saying that the situation in Turkey has eased up and that as a result Israelis were no longer in direct danger.
The bureau recommended however that Israelis stay away from political demonstrations in the country.
The advisory initially came as a response to unrest in Turkey, where protesters tried to storm the Israeli Consulate in Istanbul over an IDF raid on the “Free Gaza” ships.
Israelis were warned against traveling until the situation became clear.
Israelis that were located in Turkey were advised to remain in their places of residence and avoid city centers.