Azeraijan, Baku, Aug.5 / Trend, E.Ostapenko /
Turkish vessels of Flotilla of Freedom detained in Israeli territory for violating the blockade of the Gaza Strip will be returned today to the Turkish territory, the Israeli Defence Ministry said.
"In the wake of a decision by the political leadership and pursuant to a request by the Turkish authorities, the Defense Ministry will today, Aug.5 2010, hand over, to Turkish representatives, the Turkish vessels that tried to violate the naval blockade on the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip, and which are now anchored in Israel," said in the statement.
The nine people killed when Israeli forces stormed a the Mavi Marmara, one of the vessels from a humanitarian aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip in late May included eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American.
Ankara demands from Israel official apology and compensation to the victims' families. The Israeli Government has already agreed to cooperate with the UN for an international investigation, despite the fact that before the country refused it. A group of experts consisting of four persons will include representatives of the Israeli and Turkish sides.
Three Turkish towing ships will arrive in Israel today. Their crews will receive three vessels anchored in Israel along with the personal equipment that was aboard them.
The Foreign Ministry of Israel has sent a message to the Turkish authorities in which it expresses Israel's expectation that Turkey will prevent other Turkish vessels from violating the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip. The message emphasizes that Israel transfers equipment and goods to Gaza on an ongoing basis via the land crossings in a manner that is acceptable to the international community and which is anchored in recognized agreements.
The blockade of the Gaza Strip was significantly weakened after the incident with the "Flotilla" given the fact that Israel faced a squall of international criticism.
Israel blockaded Gaza after the region came under the control of the Palestinian group Hamas about three years ago.