Turkey issues its final report on flotilla raid
ANKARA – Daily News with wires | 2/11/2011 12:00:00 AM |
Turkey presented the final version of its national report on Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara to the UN, the chair of the Turkish panel, Mithat Rende, said Friday. (UPDATED)
Turkey presented the final version of its national report on Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara to the United Nations, the chair of the Turkish panel, Mithat Rende, said Friday.
The panel took testimonies from more than 100 passengers on the vessel and spoke with Turkish and foreign legal experts to prepare the report, which Rende said had many similarities with the U.N. Human Rights Council’s findings on the incident.
The report countered Israeli claims that passengers on the flotilla that set out from Turkish ports to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip were armed, saying the vessels contained no firing weapons.
The objective of the attack was to spread fear and to deter any future conveys to Gaza, Rende said, adding that passengers had said in their testimonies that they used the tools available for self-defense, thinking they would all be killed.
Eight Turks and one American of Turkish descent were killed in an Israeli commando attack on the ship. According to the Turkish report, five of those who died were shot in the head from close range, including the Turkish-American, who it said was shot while he was already injured.
Nearly 50 passengers were injured in the attack and one is still in an intensive care unit, the report said.
Echoing the U.N. Human Rights Council’s report, Rende said Turkey’s report found that Israel could have rendered the ship ineffective through peaceful means rather than attacking it with helicopters and submarines. He added that the measures employed by Israel targeted not only the Mavi Marmara but also the other ships in the convey, calling Israel’s actions physical, verbal and psychological mistreatment.
The report by Turkey also said that Israel’s blockade on Gaza is illegal.
Israel has already submitted its final report on the incident to the United Nations and is not expected to draft another one.
Turkey last month revealed some details of its formal investigation that decried alleged violations of international law during the attack.
An Israeli inquiry last month cleared its military and government of any wrongdoing, which sparked Turkish protests.
The incident further aggravated relations between the former allies, already tense over Turkish criticism of Israel's treatment of Palestinians.