The Turkish ship ‘Mavi Marmara’ will not take part in this years Gaza Fleet due to ‘technical difficulties’, IHH leader Bulent Yildirim said last Friday.
After the head of IHH confirmed the participation of the ‘Mavi Marmara’ in an interview with us on 7 June in Istanbul, the ship suddenly developed ‘technical difficulties’ after the Turkish elections on 12 June. Until earlier this week IHH had a statement on its website, that the ship will sail to Gaza with 500 activists on board. Images on the website showed maintenance and refurbishment of the ship after ‘the damage that had been caused by the Israeli raid last year’.
Then the website was updated with a false date (16 June) and the new statement doubting the seaworthiness of the vessel were published.
It remains unclear what the reason for the sudden change in plans is but it seems safe to say that Turkish politics had a part in it. Also unclear is what will happen with the activists that should have travelled on the ‘Mavi Marmara’. According to the information from the other organizers all the other ships of the fleet seem to be full and are supposed to sail to Gaza between 24 and 27 June.
(Sources: Middle East & Balkans News, Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center; 22 June 2011)