Dedicated to disseminating news & information not found in mainstream media....
ISTANBUL - A Turkish ferry which was the target of a deadly raid by Israeli commandos when it tried to deliver aid to
Lieberman vows no Israel apology to Turkey on raid but Netanyahu distances himself from FM's statement.
Gaza received a rapturous welcome from thousands on Sunday as it arrived back in Istanbul.
Crowds waving Turkish and Palestinian flags lined the quayside as the Mavi Marmara docked at Istanbul's Sarayburnu following a lengthy refit in a port along the Mediterranean.
Many of those gathered chanted "God is Great" as the ferry berthed, nearly seven months after the dramatic raid which left nine Turkish activists dead and triggered a major diplomatic crisis.
The ferry had been trying to deliver aid supplies to Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, but Israel refused to allow it to sail to the besieged territory and then boarded the vessel when a standoff ensued.
According to the ferry's owner, a Turkish campaign group called IHH, the Mavi Marmara will be part of a new flotilla which will leave for Gaza on May 31, 2011, exactly one year on from the deadly raid.
Turkey's foreign minister said on Saturday that he wanted to turn the page on a year of difficult relations with Israel but the Jewish state must apologise for the assault on the aid ship.
Turkey and Israel held fence-mending talks in Geneva earlier this month and drew up a draft deal to end the crisis, which is yet to be approved by Israel.
The draft envisaged Israel's apology over the raid, its agreement to compensate the victims' families, and an immediate restoration of good relations that existed... between the two countries, which would mean the return of the Turkish ambassador to Tel Aviv, who was withdrawn.
Relations had been already strained before the raid because of Israel's devastating war on Gaza launched in December 2008.
Meanwhile, about 200 pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered in Paris Sunday to commemorate the second anniversary of an Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip that killed 1,400 people.
The crowd waved Palestinian flags and shouted "Gaza, we won't forget you" and "We are all Palestinians", at the protest on Paris's Trocadero square.
They lit candles for the dead and heard an address by Jamila al-Habash, a woman who lost both her legs in an Israeli bombing.
The organisers said they would raise money to send a French boat to join a flotilla which Turkish campaigners plan to send to Gaza in May 2011 -- the anniversary of the flotilla which drew the deadly Israeli raid this year.
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed on Sunday that Israel would not apologise to Turkey for its commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship that killed nine Turkish activists.
"The ones who have to apologise are the government of Turkey for supporting terror," he said. "There will be no apology" from Israel.
But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office, in a statement, later distanced itself from the foreign minister.
Lieberman was "only expressing a personal opinion, like other ministers do," it said. "Mr Netanyahu is the only one who can express the position of Israel" on the dispute with Turkey.
Turkey and Israel had enjoyed a decade of close ties since 1996 when they signed a military cooperation agreement, and Ankara even facilitated exploratory peace talks between Israel and Syria.