New Turkish “Freedom Flotilla” to head for Gaza with 1,000 boats

I’m sure many of you remember the “Freedom Flotilla” from 2010, where several boats led by the Mavi Marmara left Turkey and attacked Israeli soldiers in an effort to break the blockade of Gaza.

Well here we go again, except the number leaving Turkey this time is said to be about 1,000 boat. And their aim, once again, is to break the naval blockade and to disrupt Israeli maritime trade.

Here’s more via Times of Israel:

Approximately 1,000 boats will gather in Turkey on Wednesday before heading toward Gaza in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade and disrupt maritime trade coming into Israel during the war with Hamas, in an apparent repeat of similar attempts from over a decade ago.

In an interview with Turkish news website Haber7, Volkan Okçu, one of the organizers of the protest, indicated the boats will carry 4,500 people from 40 countries, “including anti-Zionist Jews.”

Among the 1,000 vessels would be 313 boats filled with Russian activists, and 104 filled with Spanish activists, he said. Only 12 Turkish vessels will join the flotilla, he told Haber7.

However, Okçu said in a later tweet that he expected the number of Turkish vessels to be much higher, at least 1,000, and insisted that the initiative is not associated with the Turkish government. He did not explain the discrepancy in numbers.

The activist indicated to Haber7 that the flotilla is scheduled to leave Turkish coasts on Thursday. The maritime convoy is set to make a first stop in Cyprus before continuing toward the Israeli port of Ashdod. Some participants in the flotilla will also reportedly take their spouses and children on board.

Okçu said that the main objective of the operation would be to cause disruption in international waters off the Israeli coast to the maritime trade heading for the port of Ashdod, in order to interrupt the supply of goods to Israel for a week or even up to 10 days.

There’s a good chance that with 1,000 boats they can disrupt large container ships and others from docking with Israel. But the danger is what happened in 2010, when Israeli soldiers warned the Mavi Marmara, which was trying to break the blockade, to turn around and ended up having to board the ship when it refused. At which point these peaceful protesters violently attacked the IDF soldiers, injuring ten of them. The IDF defended themselves and 10 Turkish activists were killed and the whole thing quickly became an international incident.

Times are different now with Israel fighting a war in Gaza and I’ve no doubt that the IDF will be ready for any hostile ships trying to break the blockade.

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