We need an investigation of Turkey....
Their role in the flotilla needs to be seriously examined...
ISRAELI intelligence sources claim Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan knew in advance that a group of militants aboard the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara would violently resist an Israeli boarding.
Mr Erdogan had earlier denied the use of violence against Israeli naval commandos who took over the vessel, accusing them of wantonly murdering nine pro-Palestinian activists without provocation.
He was reported to have been furious when Turkish newspapers published photographs taken by passengers of wounded Israelis, lending indirect support to Israel's claim that its soldiers had been attacked first.
According to a report by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre, described by Haaretz yesterday as an unofficial branch of Israel's intelligence community, the Turkish government supported the militants who were recruited by a charitable organisation, IHH.
Israeli sources describe IHH as having a "radical Islamic, anti-Western orientation". The report said files found on laptops belonging to the militants indicated strong ties between IHH and Mr Erdogan. Some of the activists allegedly told the interrogators that Mr Erdogan was involved in the flotilla's preparations.
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The object of the sailing, they said, was "to expose Israel's true face to the world".
Basing itself largely on testimony taken from the 500 passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara, the Israeli intelligence group - known by its Hebrew acronym Malam - said the 40 IHH militants had boarded the vessel in Istanbul without undergoing security checks. They allegedly carried with them communication equipment, flak jackets embroidered with Turkish flags and gas masks. The other passengers boarded later in Antalya and underwent security checks.
During the voyage, the 40 militants kept apart from the other activists who came from more than a score of nations. Two hours before the Israeli navy intercepted the six-ship humanitarian convoy, the head of IHH, Bulent Yildirim, briefed the militants. The mission given the group, according to Malam, was to prevent the Israelis from seizing control of the ship before it reached Gaza.
The militants used small, hand-held saws to cut metal bars from the ship's railings and to shape knives. They also gathered knives from the ship's cafeterias and armed themselves with fire axes.
As the confrontation neared, the group took over the upper deck, displaying a clear command hierarchy. They ordered passengers to remain below decks, permitting only journalists and the ship's security officers to remain with them. According to the report, a journalist affiliated with IHH said during his interrogation that "the Turks set a trap for you and you fell straight into it".