Turkish Flotilla Scheduled to Depart for Gaza on Monday

By Yoni Weiss

The cruise liner Mavi Marmara is towed by a Turkish tugboat (R) as it leaves the port of the northern city of Haifa August 5, 2010. (Herzl Shapira/Flash90)

Nearly 14 years after the Marmara incident, in which Israeli commandos seized a Turkish ship trying to break the blockade on Gaza, leading to a clash that injured 10 IDF soldiers and killed nine Turkish activists, a new flotilla is set to sail to Gaza this Monday.

The upcoming flotilla, comprising citizens from 12 different countries, aims to provide aid to the residents of Gaza and challenge the Israeli blockade, echoing the objectives of the previous endeavor. Turkey has stated that its goals are to both assist Gaza’s inhabitants and to contest the blockade.

Fehmi Bulent Yildirim, president of the Turkish humanitarian NGO IHH, spearheads the initiative and has received the nod from Turkish authorities to proceed. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has endorsed this move, and the head of Turkish intelligence has played a role in organizing the flotilla to ensure the safety of those on board.

In a recent press conference, Yildirim announced that the flotilla would include ships from Libya, Lebanon, and Turkey, planning to first dock at the Egyptian port of El-Arish before proceeding to Rafah.

The flotilla is set to transport humanitarian aid and equipment, as well as journalists and “peace activists” from countries including Turkey, Canada, South Africa, Spain, the U.S., Malaysia, and Sweden. Yildirim stated, “No one can remain silent about what Israel is doing in Gaza: genocide. We must rescue Gaza and its people from the horrors of this brutal war.”

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