by Neville Teller
13 June 2010
As more information starts to emerge about the Gaza flotilla, and in particular the tragic events aboard the Mavi Marmara on the night of 31 May, impartial observers are beginning to suspect that their instant rush to judgment – or rather to condemnation – of Israel was premature, and may finally prove to have been misplaced.
What is the information now coming to light?
In the first place it now transpires that, contrary to the public perception of the flotilla as being crammed to the gunwhales with humanitarian aid, three of the six ships in the convoy actually carried no aid at all. The lead ship Mavi Marmara was one such. Far from being a vessel dedicated to humanitarian assistance, it was filled with nearly 600 people according to Yavuz Dede, deputy director of the Turkish Islamist organisation, Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), which organised the trip.
Transcripts, interviews and accounts provided by those on board the Mavi Marmara, including the captain, have revealed that of its passengers approximately 40 were operatives from IHH. Ushered on board without any security checks, and armed with knives, axes and other weapons, they set up a control room on the ship, communicated with one another using walkie talkies, and were led by the head of the IHH, Bülent Yildirim, who briefed his men two hours before the confrontation.
Following interviews with the passengers and crew of the six ships, as well as based on findings from computers seized from IHH members,
Basically, what the report details is a carefully planned operation, conceived and carried out with the full cooperation of the Turkish AKP party, and with the apparent concurrence of the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government, and clearly designed to force a confrontation in one way or another with
The report indicates that the operation started with the purchase of the Mavi Marmara by the IHH from a major shipping company owned by the
A journalist on board the Mavi Marmara, described as having good links with the heads of the Turkish government and IHH head Yildirim, is reported as saying, "The flotilla was organized with the support of the Turkish government, and Prime Minister Erdogan gave the instructions for it to set sail. That was despite the fact that everyone knew it would never reach its destination."
Accounts from the passengers, who totalled some 671 in all, reveal that while most boarded their vessels in Anatolia, having been subjected to a full individual search, the 40 IHH operatives came on board the Mavi Marmara in the
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