Turkey: UN flotilla report release delayed upon Israel’s request

August 22, 2011, Monday/ 12:41:00

The release of a UN panel report on a deadly takeover of an international aid flotilla by Israeli commandos last year has been postponed once again, a Turkish official said on Monday.

The UN panel investigating the May 31, 2010 raid, in which eight Turks and one Turkish-American were killed on the Mavi Marmara ship, was expected to present its findings to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday. The report was then due to be made public on Tuesday.

The release of the report was postponed and the request for the delay came from Israel, as in past postponements, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selçuk Ünal said.

The Israeli side, on the other hand, has presented a different account, saying Turkey requested the postponement. On Sunday, Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted an Israeli diplomatic source as saying Turkey asked for the postponement. The US government has expressed its support for the Turkish request to delay the report, and Israel has not opposed the move and the decision lies with the UN chief, Haaretz had said.

The release of the UN panel's report has been delayed several times in the hope that this could give Turkey and Israel more time to negotiate an agreement to restore their relations. Turkey is demanding a formal apology for the killings, while Israel has said it has no intention to offer an apology. The UN report is expected to endorse the Israeli blockade of Gaza but criticize Israel for excessive use of force during the 2010 raid.

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