US warns Turkey against new flotilla to Gaza

U. S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Philip Gordon, said at a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs hearing on May 18 that a new flotilla to the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip will not be constructive.  Gordon added that “[s]ince the flotilla episode last year, Israel has changed the humanitarian regime for Gaza, … [providing] alternative ways to get humanitarian assistance to Gaza. So any government or NGO that wants to send genuinely humanitarian goods to Gaza has a way of doing it that is uncontested.  [W]e … have been very clear with the Turkish government that that’s the case. And we have asked them to make clear to any Turkish NGOs that might want to send a ship that they should really find this other path.”

Organizers of an international flotilla say they are planning to depart for Gaza in June to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians.  In response to both the Israeli’s and US plea to stop this, the Turkish Government has said that this is a civilian initiative, and the government does not control the activities of civil society groups. A reprise of the flotilla tragedy of last May has all the potential of another political crisis in Turkey – Israeli and U.S. – Turkey relations.

Source: Today’s Zaman
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