Mavi Marmara to miss new Gaza mission

2011-06-17 22:18

Istanbul - A Turkish boat that became an international symbol of anti-Israeli activism has dropped out of a Gaza-bound flotilla that plans to set sail for the Palestinian territory at the end of this month, organisers said on Friday.

The withdrawal of the Mavi Marmara ferry from the convoy that aims to break Israel's sea blockade of the Gaza Strip removes a potential flashpoint for confrontation. Last year, nine activists died in a botched Israeli commando operation on the Turkish ship during a similar flotilla, with each side accusing the other of starting the violence.

Israel has warned that it will not allow any more ships to break its naval blockade, and said without providing details that security forces have adopted new tactics since last years' raid in an effort to limit casualties.

IHH, the Islamic aid group in Turkey that refitted the Mavi Marmara after Israel returned it following the raid, said technical problems prevented it from joining 10 other ships that will head for Gaza from European ports on June 25. The original plan was to sail around the first anniversary of the Israeli raid before dawn on May 31 2010.

"We did not want the flotilla to be postponed again," IHH president Bulent Yildirim said. "When we fix the Mavi Marmara, our journey will continue. I hope it will not take a long time."

Organisers said their decision to exclude the Turkish boat was not a response to appeals from any government. Last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu condemned the Israeli blockade and said the Mavi Marmara had the right to sail, but urged activists "to act more carefully and not take steps that could be exploited" by Israel.

Apology, compensation

He also said non-governmental groups should "take into account" that Egypt's new military rulers had opened Gaza's main gateway to the world, the Rafah terminal, thereby ending a four-year blockade of Gaza that was imposed in co-ordination with Israel.

Turkey demands that Israel apologise and pay compensation for last year's flotilla raid, but the possibility of a diplomatic confrontation over a second flotilla could divert Turkey's focus on problems with neighbouring Syria. The Turkish government is sheltering nearly 10 000 Syrians who have fled across the border to escape a crackdown on an uprising against President Bashar Assad.

Yildirim said pro-Palestinian activists from his group would board other ships in the Gaza-bound flotilla, which includes an American boat, a 40-member Canadian ship and a cargo vessel organised by activists from Greece, Sweden and Norway.

Some of the boats are expected to depart from Greece, and Yildirim acknowledged that Greece's financial problems and widespread anger there over tough new austerity measures had posed a challenge to flotilla preparations.

"There are some problems and crises in European countries, so it might be delayed a few days," he said.

- AP

Read more on:    turkey  |  gaza  |  israel  |  gaza ship raid

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

  • Wednesday Delft - 20:37 PM
    Road name: R300 Southbound
    ROADWORKS - left lane closed at Hindle Road
  • Wednesday Sir Lowry's Pass - 17:57 PM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now! - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.