Turkey’s Erdoğan slams Gaza flotilla organizers over objection to Israel deal
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
AA photoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has criticized the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH), which organized the ill-fated 2010 flotilla to Gaza, for its objection to a recent agreement between Turkey and Israel and its decision to launch a flotilla in the first place.
“Did you ask the then-prime minister [himself] to carry such humanitarian aid from Turkey? We had already sent the necessary aid there to Gaza by that time and we are providing aid [now]. We have sent aid to Palestine and are sending. But while we were doing this, we did everything [within the bounds of diplomacy], not for a show of strength. We will continue to do so. We did these things not with a flourish of trumpets but with decency and propriety, and we are continuing to do this,” Erdoğan said on June 29 at an fast breaking iftar dinner organized for presidential palace personnel.
President Erdoğan previously stated that the İHH was an aid organization which risked death for their cause.
“What is this İHH? It is a relief organization which carries medicine and food to Gazan babies and risks death for this,” Erdoğan said in 2014.
He also said the İHH had sent aid to a number of countries, adding that the “innocent and the poor all over the world gladdened” when they saw the organization.
Ankara and Tel Aviv signed a deal to normalize ties on June 28 after six years of strained relations. Israel’s security cabinet approved the deal on June 29. The deal is expected to be approved at the Turkish Parliament too.
Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Israel were suspended in 2010 after Israeli forces raided a convoy of aid ships headed by the Mavi Marmara that was attempting to break the blockade of Gaza, killing 10 Turkish activists.
Turkey had put forth three conditions to normalize relations.
Apology, which was the first clause, was realized in 2013 when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Erdoğan.
The second clause was having Israel pay compensation to the families of the Mavi Marmara victims, which was achieved with the deal, where Israel agreed to pay $20 million in compensation to the families.
The third clause was the lifting of the blockade on Gaza, for which Turkey got permission to send aid material via Israel’s Ashdod Port.
The president also added that a ship loaded with 14,000 tons of humanitarian aid for Gaza will set out for the Ashdod port on July 1 from the southern port of Mersin.