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Turkish group ready for new flotilla

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Turkish humanitarian group that purportedly has ties to terrorism said it will send another flotilla to break the Gaza blockade.

Representatives of the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or IHH, said Wednesday during a news conference at the European Parliament in Strasbourg that it will participate in another flotilla of aid and activists next month. According to IHH, which Israel and some U.S. Congress members say have ties to terrorism, it already has acquired six ships for the late July flotilla and called on others to add vessels. 

Several pro-Palestinian groups are scheduled to participate in what has been dubbed the Fleet of Freedom 2, including Turkish, Greek and Swedish nongovernmental organizations, Free Gaza and the International Committee to Lift the Siege on Gaza.

Violence broke out on board a Turkish-flagged ship after it was intercepted by Israel and boarded by naval commandos in international waters off Gaza on May 31, leaving nine passengers dead. All of the dead were Turkish citizens; one was Turkish American. A group affiliated with IHH was aboard the ship, the Mavi Marmara.

Meanwhile, a Turkish newspaper reported Wednesday that Turkey’s government is deciding how its future ties with Israel will look, according to Reuters. Citing unnamed sources, the Star reported that Turkey could halt all future military cooperation with Israel and not send back the envoy it brought home following the flotilla clash. 

The Turkish government also reportedly has set up a committee to study the flotilla incident in preparation for a possible international investigation, according to reports. The committee was formed Monday and has met twice.

Also Wednesday, Israel’s Turkel Commission investigating the incident met for the first time.
 

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