JERUSALEM (JTA) – Thousands gathered at a port in Istanbul on Sunday to welcome back a Turkish ship raided by Israel, even as Turkey continued to insist on an Israeli apology for the incident.
More than 10,000 supporters, including activists from 50 countries, waved Turkish and Palestinian flags as the ship entered the port for the first time since it left in late May. Some of the demonstrators chanted, "Death to Israel," according to reports.
Violent resistance on the Gaza-bound Turkish ship during the Israeli Navy’s interception on May 31 led to the deaths of nine Turkish nationals, including one person with dual Turkish-American citizenship.
On Sunday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called Turkey’s continued insistence on an apology from Israel for the incident "beyond rude." Lieberman said that Turkey should apologize to Israel for supporting terrorists.
He was responding to comments made the previous day by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who said that Turkey "has the will to make peace with Israel," but was unable to, since it "is "very difficult to establish political will in Israel."
Turkey and Israel began discussing reestablishing ties after Turkey sent assistance to Israel earlier this month to battle the Carmel fire.