Israel to return Marmara to Turkey

Turkey agrees ships will not participate in future flotillas.

On the ground in Ankara (photo credit: Uri Fields)
On the ground in Ankara
(photo credit: Uri Fields)
Israel has decided to return the ships that took part in the May 31 Gaza-bound flotilla to Turkey, including the Mavi Marmara, on Friday to prevent further deterioration in relations between the two countries.As part of the return agreement, Israel received an agreement from Turkey that the ships would not participate in any future flotillas to Gaza.
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The IHH, which organized the ships of the flotilla, was demanding last week that Israel provide tug boats to tow the ships back to Turkey, according to Turkish daily Hurriyet.
“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.