Turkey welcomes UN flotilla probe, expects apology and compensation
Ankara has welcomed the newly-created United Nations inquiry into Israel's Gaza flotilla raid, but still expects Israel to formally apologize for the incident and compensate the victims, DPA reported on Tuesday with reference to the Turkish media.
The four-member UN panel was appointed Monday to fully investigate the Israeli interception of an aid flotilla off the coast of Gaza Strip, which resulted in nine people killed and plunged Turkey-Israel relations into a deep crisis.
The panel will include one Turkish and one Israeli member.
Turkey would appoint an "experienced diplomat," the country's Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, told the state-run Anatolian Agency.
According to the agency, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan instructed Davutoglu to closely monitor the UN probe and reminded him that Ankara's demands for a formal apology from Israel and compensation for the victims' families still stand.
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.
The incident nearly severed decades-old diplomatic ties between Turkey and Israel, two allies in the difficult Middle East region.
Israel has said its naval commandos had opened fire on the civilian activists after they were taken by surprise by a group of several dozen passengers on board the Mavi Marmara, who attacked them with sticks and knives. But it was widely condemned for the action in international waters.
The UN panel is headed by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer and outgoing President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, who will co-chair the investigation. It is to begin work immediately and make a first progress report by mid-September.