Greg Sheridan has provided an excellent article about Turkey’s role in the Gaza flotilla and what it has gained.
While the fixation has been on Israel, Dr Aaron Lerner appropriately asks that Turkey also be put under the global microscope in his article: Observation: Israeli investigation should focus on gross failure of Turkish inspection of vessel
Dr. Aaron Lerner IMRA
The world calls on Israel to investigate the events that lead to the loss of life when Israeli forces boarded the Mavi Marmara.
And indeed it should.
And, in the interest of the “peace process”, this investigation should focus on a development that could have the most serious ramifications vis-à-vis the viability of various proposed future arrangements for a Palestinian state: the gross failure of Turkish inspectors to prevent the loading of massive quantities of weapons on the ship.
Here is what the Turks say:
“Customs officials at the Port of Antalya have denied Israeli claims that weapons were detected on a ship taking humanitarian aid to Gaza that took off from Antalya on Sunday.
Officials from the Customs Directorate said all passengers that boarded the Mavi Marmara ship were screened and that not a single passenger was in possession of any weapon. “Forty-two passengers boarded in Istanbul and 504 passengers got on the ship here. They were screened. We spotted no weapons and there is no such record in our logs. We did not notice anything suspicious about the Mavi Marmara. Had our officers had any suspicions, they would have reported it,” an official, speaking under the condition of anonymity, said. ”
We need to find out at what level the Turkish inspection broke down:
1. Was this simply a matter of inept inspectors at the scene?
2. Did the inspectors actually see the weapons but ignored them?
3. At what level in the Turkish chain of command – if any – were they aware that weapons were being loaded?
4. At what level in the Turkish chain of command was a decision made to ignore the weapons.
Again, this is not a matter of trying to gain debater’s points.
We have here a situation that the Turks solemnly assured us that there would be no weapons aboard and we relied on their information.
And it is an undeniable fact that this was not the case.
Any agreement to create a sovereign Palestinian state would be loaded with various security arrangements that rely on the efficacy of third parties such as Turkey.
It is thus critical for the success of the “peace process” to get to the bottom of Turkey’s inspection failure in order to avoid a repeat of it should a sovereign Palestinian state be formed.
Israel should interview the passengers on the Mavi Marmara regarding the security inspection and follow up with Turkish officials.
Anyone who is truly interested in advancing the peace process should support this move.