Özdem Sanberk, the Turkish representative to the UN panel that compiled the so-called Palmer Report on the flotilla raid, notified the UN on July 1 that Ankara would not be approving the drafted version. “The report is unacceptable to Turkey as it is and considered null and void,” Sanberk wrote in a letter he sent to the panel long before its content hit the media early September. Sanberk had also vocalized Turkey’s disapproval of the report at a final April meeting of the UN panel, but his suggestions did not change the outcome.
In the aftermath of the leak, Sanberk received criticism from lawmakers from oppositional parties as well as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) for not being able to change the controversial bits in the report. Volkan Bozkır of AK Party suggested that the Turkish representative “could have prevented the report from going out the way it did, if he had left his post.” However, Sanberk conveyed to the panel upon receiving a draft version in April that the report established the facts accurately but needed a different evaluation in the concluding chapter. Sanberk warned the panel that “a leak in the report would bring an end to Turkey-Israel relations.” The report eventually leaked to the US media, allegedly through Israeli administration, which had pushed for delays in the report’s release to gain time for easier rapprochement with Turkey.
In the letter Sanberk sent to the panel he reiterated Turkish demands for apology and compensation before normalization of relations could take place between the countries. Turkey had withdrawn its ambassador from Israel in the aftermath of the Mavi Marmara raid last year, and imposed sanctions on Israel on Sept. 2, immediately after the leak, to withdraw theirs and drop diplomatic relations to the level of the second secretary.
The UN panel chaired by the former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer was formed to shed light to the Israeli raid of a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid ship that ended in the killing of nine Turkish peace activists aboard Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010. Although the report found Israeli intervention “excessive and unreasonable,” it was subject to criticism from Turkey for its justification of Gaza blockade and a lack of pressure on Israel to comply with Turkish demands for normalization.