Turkey sets up own Gaza flotilla inquiry 12Aug10 August 13, 2010

Haaretz – 12 August 2010

Turkey has set up its own inquiry into Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid convoy that left none Turkish citizens dead, the AFP news agency reported on Thursday.

The probe will work under the office of Prime Minister’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and will “investigate the attack and the treatment the activists faced” before reporting on its findings, the ministry said in a statement.

Turkey said it plans to present its findings to another inquiry set up by the United Nations. Early this month, Israel agreed to participate in the UN probe, as well as setting up its own investigation, which this week heard teastimony from the Israeli prime minister, defense minister and army chief of staff.

Turkey’s commission will include officials from the foreign, justice, interior and transport ministries as well as from the country’s maritime agency.

Israel’s May 31 raid on the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish-flagged lead ship in the flotilla, plunged relations between the erstwhile allies into deep crisis.

On Tuesday Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Tuesday that Israel should admit sole responsibility for the deaths aboard the Mavi Marmara.

“No one else can take the blame for killing civilians in international waters,” Davutoglu told journalists. “Israel has killed civilians, and should take the responsibility for having done so.”

The Turkish minister appeared to be responding to remarks made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday when he testified before an Israeli commission of inquiry into the same May 31 incident.

Netanyahu said Turkey had ignored repeated warnings and appeals “at the highest level” to halt the flotilla, which was organized by an Islamic charity based in Turkey.

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