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Turkish Delight?

Flotilla backers, majority of activists hail from Turkey

by
Marc Tracy
June 02, 2010
The Turkish and Palestinian flags wave at a protest.(Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)
The Turkish and Palestinian flags wave at a protest.(Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)

Lee Smith devoted today’s column to the Gaza flotilla’s Turkish connection, and the odd situation this puts the United States in. As further facts about the flotilla and its supporters come to light, this Turkish link seems all the stronger.

For the starters, there are the passengers. Of the 682 detainees, over half—380—were Turkish. Nearly half of the dead—4—were Turkish, too.

Then, as always, you must follow the money. I.H.H.—the group behind the flotilla—is funded, the New York Times reports, by many of the same wealthy, religious, Istanbul-based merchants that are credited with having brought Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist party to power.

Turkey has withdrawn its ambassador from Tel Aviv. For the record, it says it will normalize relations … when Israel lifts the Gaza blockade.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.

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