for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up
World News

Timeline: Main events in the Gaza flotilla affair

TURKEY (Reuters) - Turkey called for international punishment of Israel for its deadly raid on a Turkish Gaza-bound aid ship at a summit Monday where Ankara will also urge an immediate end to Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-run territory.

Here is a timeline of events following the raid last Monday which ended with nine pro-Palestinian activists being killed when Israeli commandos stormed one of the ships and encountered violent resistance. Sunday, May 30 - A flotilla of six ships heads for Gaza from rendezvous off Cyprus. Hours later about a dozen Israeli naval vessels set sail from Haifa and Ashdod to intercept the convoy in international waters.

Monday, May 31 - Some 120 km (75 miles) west of Haifa, the flotilla ignores calls for the ships to turn around or be escorted to Ashdod. Commandos begin boarding each vessel. Five of the six ships are commandeered swiftly with few injuries, but on the Mavi Marmara things go wrong with commandos overpowered by protesters who beat them with clubs and also wield knives. Israeli forces regain control and soon nine Turkish activists are dead.

-- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after changing plans twice, cuts short a trip to Canada and calls U.S. President Barack Obama to cancel a Tuesday White House meeting.

Tuesday, June 1 - Activists from the flotilla are taken to a detention center at Ben-Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv and are deported.

Wednesday, June 2 - Netanyahu defends Israel’s blockade of Gaza saying it is vital to limit the smuggling of weapons, including long-range rockets, to Hamas, and would stay in place.

-- Israel said it was deporting all 682 activists from more than 35 countries detained after the assault.

-- Turkey accuses Israel of “state terrorism,” recalls its ambassador from Tel Aviv and demands it lifts the blockade.

Thursday, June 3 - Hundreds of activists from the flotilla land at Istanbul to a hero’s welcome from thousands of cheering supporters waiting at the airport. The three planes also carry the coffins of the nine dead.

-- Netanyahu instructs the military to prevent another aid ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, from reaching Gaza Saturday.

Friday, June 4 - Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accuses Israel of betraying its religion with the killings, as relations between the once-close allies reaches virtual breaking point. Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc says Turkey will downgrade ties with Israel to “a minimum.”

Saturday, June 5 - Israel’s navy boards the Gaza-bound aid ship Rachel Corrie without incident, after international diplomatic efforts to stave off any violence, and sails it to Ashdod. The 19 passengers and crew sign deportation papers.

-- Thousands of people march through Istanbul, demanding Turkey cut economic ties with Israel.

Sunday, June 6 - Israel rejects a proposal by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for an international investigation into the raid and says it had the right to launch its own inquiry.

Monday, June 7 - At a summit where Ankara will urge an immediate end to Israel’s Gaza blockade, Turkey called for international punishment of Israel for the naval interception.

Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; editing by John Stonestreet

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up