Monday, December 27, 2010

Gaza Peace Flotilla - Mavi Marmara Returns to Turkey CCTV News

Activists greet Mavi Marmara in Turkey

Gaza Peace Flotilla

12-27-2010 08:33 BJT

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Thousands of pro-Palestinian activists have welcomed, back to Istanbul, a ship that was the scene of bloodshed in May.
Turkey, the home country for eight citizens killed during a raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, says Israel must apologize and offer compensation. But those demands have been rejected.
Hundreds of balloons were released as the Mavi Marmara sailed into Istanbul's Sarayburnu Port, following a stop for repairs on Turkey's Mediterranean Coast.
Chanting and waving Palestinian and Turkish flags, hordes of activists greeted the vessel.
The ship was part of an international flotilla carrying supplies to Gaza, in a campaign to breach a longstanding blockade, when Israeli troops intercepted the convoy.
Nine people, including eight Turks, were killed on board the vessel.
Activists have since promised to send more ships, in an effort to break the embargo.
Muhittin Yildirim, Flotilla Raid Survivor, said, "We had a few goals we wanted to achieve when we set off with the Mavi Marmara. We wanted to raise awareness of the Palestinian cause, and ease the blockade. Even though the ship did not reach its destination, it has reached its goal."
The incident has aggravated relations between Turkey and Israel.
Turkey recalled its ambassador, and pushed for international condemnation of Israel.
High-level Turkish and Israeli officials met in Geneva earlier this month, to try to mend fences.
Turkey is not backtracking from its demands that Israel apologize for the raid, and compensate victims, before relations can return to normal.
The two sides failed to agree on terms.
Avigfor Lieberman, Israeli Foreign Minister, said, "If anyone has to apologize, it is the Turkish government to Israel, for its cooperation with terror entities, supporting terror, supporting the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, Hamas, and Hezbollah. There will be no apology and, if there is one, then it will be us waiting for an apology from Turkey."
Israel insists that commandos opened fire in self-defense, after meeting what they called unexpected resistance upon boarding the Mavi Marmara.
Israel wants Turkey to return its ambassador to Tel Aviv, and to drop the flotilla incident from the international agenda.
Activists greet Mavi Marmara in Turkey CCTV News - CNTV English