Report: Turkey Puts Mavi Marmara Up for Auction

YERUSHALAYIM -
The cruise liner Mavi Marmara is towed by a Turkish tugboat (R) as it leaves the port of Haifa in 2010. (Herzl Shapira/Flash90)

The Turkish government has announced plans to put the Mavi Marmara up for auction, according to a report in CNN Turk.

According to a statement from the Turkish Debt Collection Department, the asking price for the 93-foot long vessel is 3,888,000 Turkish liras (around $345,000).

The Mavi Marmara is infamous in Israel for its involvement in a 2010 incident in which Israeli naval commandos raided a flotilla trying to breach the maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip, put in place after the Hamas terrorist group ousted rival Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement from the coastal enclave in a military coup.

Upon approaching Gaza’s waters, the Israeli navy hailed the Marmara several times, warning it was about to breach the blockade and ordering it to stop and turn around. The Marmara refused, leaving Israeli commandos little choice but to board the ship.

The operation was met with violence by the passengers, who clashed with the Israeli troops. Ten Turkish nationals were killed, and ten Israeli soldiers were wounded, one seriously.

Footage of the raid, especially of passengers assaulting Israeli soldiers and throwing them overboard, dominated the international news cycle for weeks. The incident caused a rift between Israel and Turkey. Bilateral ties have remained chilly despite Israel’s $20 million reparations to the victims’ families.

The Turkey-based IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, which organized the flotilla led by the Mavi Marmara, is designated as a terrorist group by Israel, Germany and the Netherlands.

Now known as Anatolian, the ship has been put up for sale following a mortgage foreclosure. It is docked in the Somali capital of Mogadishu after being targeted by pirates last August in an attack Turkey’s TRT Khabar channel said left the ship with “bullets and missiles.” The vessel, however, is in reasonably good condition and able to continue operations, according to the report.

The vessel will be auctioned off at the Anatolian Court in Istanbul in the coming days.

The cost of transporting the ship to Turkey is estimated at $320,220.