Turkey: Israel attacked flotilla

Jan. 25, 2011 at 4:11 PM
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ISTANBUL, Turkey, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Turkey Tuesday released its report on the May 2010 flotilla incident, finding Israel launched a "full-fledged and premeditated attack" in international waters.

"The attacker can't claim that he is defending himself," a senior Turkish Foreign Ministry official told The Christian Science Monitor. "Our aim was not to demonize Israel or the Israeli people [or] to tarnish the Israeli nation. … But Israel has not come to terms with their injustice."

Israel's Turkel Commission released its own report Sunday on the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident, which cleared the Israeli government and military of any wrongdoing. The U.S. government called that report "credible" and "impartial."

Turkey's report was submitted to a U.N. investigation in September but was made public in response to the Turkel Commission's publication.

The report said heavily armed Israeli soldiers launched a "full-fledged and premeditated attack" that employed "excessive, indiscriminate and disproportionate force … against the civilians on board" as the flotilla tried to bring supplies to Gaza.

Eight Turks and a Turkish American were killed.

The soldiers "continued to brutalize and terrorize the passengers, abusing them physically and psychologically," the report said, adding the passengers were "forced to sign incriminatory statements" in Hebrew after days of interrogation.

"Evidence of critical importance to shed light on the attack was destroyed, tampered with or despoiled," the report also found.

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