Israel stops flotilla seeking to break Gaza blockade

Updated 30 June 2015

Israel stops flotilla seeking to break Gaza blockade

ASHDOD, Israel: Israel’s navy on Monday halted a flotilla seeking to defy its blockade of Gaza without the deadly force that marred a similar attempt in 2010 and was escorting one of the vessels to shore. Among the passengers on the commandeered ship were Tunisia’s former President Moncef Marzouki and Arab-Israeli lawmaker Basel Ghattas.
A flotilla of four boats carrying pro-Palestinian activists had been seeking to reach Gaza to highlight the Israeli blockade of the territory that they called “inhumane and illegal.” Three of the boats were said to have turned back while a fourth, the Marianne of Gothenburg, was boarded by the Israeli navy and was being escorted to the Israeli port of Ashdod. The activists’ campaign came as Israel faced heavy international pressure over its actions in Gaza, with a UN report last week saying both the Jewish state and Palestinian fighters may have committed war crimes during a 50-day conflict in the besieged coastal enclave last summer.
The reconstruction of thousands of homes in Gaza destroyed during the fighting between Israel and Hamas, the territory’s de facto rulers, is yet to begin, and both Israel’s blockade and a lack of support from international donors have been blamed.
After the overnight operation to stop the flotilla, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lauded the navy’s actions and insisted his government was right to take action against Hamas.


Turkish police arrest journalist Altan a week after his release

Updated 39 min 14 sec ago

Turkish police arrest journalist Altan a week after his release

  • Altan and the others deny the charges against them
  • On Tuesday a higher court overruled the decision to release Altan, ordering his arrest on grounds that there was a risk of him fleeing

ISTANBUL: Turkish police detained prominent journalist and author Ahmet Altan late on Tuesday, a week after he was released from prison in his retrial on coup-related charges, Istanbul police said.

Before his release last Monday, the 69-year-old had been in jail since his arrest in 2016, two months after an attempted coup which Ankara says was orchestrated by the network of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The journalist’s case has drawn criticism from human rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies. They are concerned by the scale of a post-coup crackdown against suspected Gulen supporters under President Tayyip Erdogan.

Altan smiled and waved as he was driven away by counter-terror squad police officers after being taken from his home in Istanbul, video and photos published by Turkish media showed.

He was taken to Istanbul police headquarters after a hospital check-up, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.

Altan, his brother and other journalists were previously sentenced to life in jail for aiding Gulen’s network. Last week he was convicted again in a retrial, but released from jail given the time served.

Altan and the others deny the charges against them.

On Tuesday a higher court overruled the decision to release Altan, ordering his arrest on grounds that there was a risk of him fleeing, Anadolu reported.

Under last week’s verdict, Altan was sentenced to 10 years and six months in jail. Turkey’s high court had overruled the previous life sentences against him in July, sending the file back for re-trial.

Erdogan’s government has jailed more than 77,000 people pending trial since the failed putsch. Widespread arrests are still routine in a crackdown critics say demonstrates growing autocracy in Turkey.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, and his followers deny any involvement in the coup. Turkey has repeatedly called on the United States to extradite the cleric.