Erdoğan to foundation behind Gaza flotilla: Did you even ask me before setting sail?

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed the humanitarian aid foundation behind the 2010 Gaza flotilla on Wednesday night, asking them whether they asked him – the prime minister of the time – before they set sail.

Speaking after an iftar dinner at the presidential palace in Ankara capital, Erdoğan referred to the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) members behind the 2010 Gaza flotilla and said, “Did you even ask the prime minister of the time before setting sail to send the humanitarian aid from Turkey [to Gaza]?”

Erdoğan targeted the humanitarian aid foundation after they heavily criticized the recent normalization deal with Israel.

“We asked them to pay compensation. $20 million was determined for the families of the [2010 Gaza flotilla raid] victims. They say we deserve more, is it reasonable to set a price for the blood that was shed? We decided on this amount as compensation, they either take it or leave it. We are taking a step in international scale here. Did you even ask the prime minister of the time before setting sail to send the humanitarian aid from Turkey [to Gaza]? We have been helping them and we still do.”

Erdoğan implied that IHH was making an appearance when they continued towards Gaza to send humanitarian aid although Israel warned them not to do it without asking their permission.

“Do we do this [send help to the needy] to make an appearance? [No,] we do it in a decent manner.”

The Israeli navy killed nine Turkish and one Turkish-American pro-Palestinian activists in 2010, conducting an operation against six civilian ships that belonged to the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea. The ships fit by the Free Gaza Movement and IHH were carrying humanitarian and construction supplies to the blockaded Gaza Strip.

IHH criticized the normalization agreement between Turkey and Israel in a series of tweets on Sunday, emphasizing that the blockade of Gaza has to be lifted because it is unlawful and a crime against the humanity.

“Blockade is different from embargo. The agreement should be based on the conditions of abolishing the blockade, not the embargo. An agreement foreseeing the using of Ashdod port would not weaken the blockade but rather it leads to official recognition of it. The probable agreement conditions that were published in the press will lead to international recognition of the blockade,” the foundation said.

Gaza flotilla victims’ family members also reacted against the deal to restore ties with Israel, arguing that the victims’ blood as well as the Palestinian people’s honor was “not for sale”.

The Israeli security cabinet approved the normalization deal by a vote of seven to three on Wednesday afternoon.

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