Turkey woke up yesterday to news of Israel’s acquiescence in cooperating with the UN probe of the Gaza flotilla, and the headlines seemed full of satisfaction.
“Israel waves a white flag,” was the headline in the popular Hurriyet paper. The Turkish Sabah celebrated with “Israel folds,” and Turkiyeh mentioned—also under a headline that spoke of surrender, that this was the first time in history that Israel allowed the UN to investigate a matter involving its soldiers.
Yesterday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Dovotoglu gave his blessing to the establishment of a UN committee to probe the events surrounding the flotilla in which 8 Turks and 1 Turkish American were killed after the Israel Naval commando raid encountered violent resistance. “This was a crime against international law that the international community needs to investigate,” he said.
According to Turkey’s official news agency, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan called Dovotoglu yesterday before the UN Secretary General’s official announcement, and asked him to closely follow the investigation. During the conversation, he also emphasized that Turkey was not backing off on its other demands of Israel—for an apology for the events surrounding the flotilla, as well as compensation for the injured and families of the dead.
As reported yesterday by World of Judaica, Secretary General Ban announced the establishment of a committee headed by former New Zealand Prime Minister Jeffry Palmer. His second in command will be the outgoing Colombian president Alvarez Uribe. Two other members will be an Israeli—who will be chosen by the end of this week—and one Turk. The investigation will begin on the 10th of August, and its first report will be issued to Ban in the middle of September. It was further decided that the panel will accept reports on the nonbinding Turkel Israeli investigative committee.
On the heels of his conversation with Ban, Netanyahu said that “Israel has nothing to hide. Just the opposite. The international interests of the state of Israel are to ensure that the factual truth on the entirety of the events surrounding the flotilla be known by the entire world.” State officials in Jerusalem emphasized that the committee will no investigate any professional officials tied to the matter, be they civilian or army. It will have to suffice with documents, and at most investigate the official leadership involved.