At a conference of Palestinian ambassadors in the city of Istanbul, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan started his speech by listing the names of the nine activists, including a Turkish-American citizen, killed in 2010′s “Gaza Flotilla Incident” on the 31st of May when the Israel Defense Forces carried out “Operation Sky Winds” which had Israeli commandos raid a flotilla of six ships (dubbed the ‘Gaza Freedom Flotilla’) resulting in the death of the nine activists.
“Ali Haydar Bengi, Fahri Yaldiz, Necde Yıldırım, Cengiz Akyüz, Cengiz Songür, Furkan Doğan, Çetin Topçuoğlu, Cevdet Kılıçlar and İbrahim Bilgen.”
The Prime Minister went on to state that the Turkish government has not forgotten the incident and still wants an apology from Israel among other things such as compensation to the victims’ families and the lifting of the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Until then, Prime Minister Erdoğan firmly insisted that it would be “unthinkable” for Turkey to “normalize” its relations with Israel.
However Israel continues to defend its soldiers’ actions by continuing to insist that the commandos acted in self defense after they were attacked by makeshift weapons by those on the MV Mavi Marmara.
Earlier, Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman berated Turkey saying, “the ones who need to apologize is the Turkish government…there will be no apology, and if there is one, we are expecting it from Ankara.”
Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon stated that Israel would not be “taking responsibility” for the deaths of the nine activists nor will there be any compensation to the families of those injured or killed.
However, Yaalon said that the government would be more than willing to donate money to a fund set up by the Turkish government for the victims’ families.
Some critics (of both Israel and Turkey) muse that Turkey is being slightly hypocritical in its stance towards Israel as the Turkish government has not even recognized the Armenian Genocide of more than 1 million people after the first World War.
(Cover Photo: IDF)