Maariv and Yediot: Erdogan landed military planes in Israel, forced its hand on flotilla detainees
UPDATE 01:30PM – Haaretz reports that Turkish Airlines planes are now flying Turkish nationals out of Ben Gurion airport. It would appear then that the Turkish military planes flew only the injured out overnight, a point of fact the Maariv report confuses.
This appears to be an extraordinary story, from this morning’s Yediot (June 2 2010, full translated text below, Hebrew original here and at bottom of post):
Yesterday, the Turkish authorities demanded that Israel release all 350 of the Turkish citizens who were among the 600 foreign detainees. For this purpose, the Turks sent three military planes to Israel and demanded to be given all the injured and detained persons and the bodies of those who were killed.
Eli Bardenstein and Amir Buhbut expand in Maariv (Hebrew original here and at bottom of post):
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has managed to really frighten Israel. Yesterday evening Israel announced that it would deport all the Turkish flotilla detainees, including those suspected of participating in the lynch of the IDF commandos.
Through his Foreign Minister, Erdogan transmatted a message to Israel in two stages: first, he demanded that all the wounded, along with those that did not participate in the attack on the soldiers, be deported immediately; later he demanded that all the hundreds of Turkish civilians held in Beersheva — about 350 — be repatriated immediately. He even sent for this purpose two military ambulance planes and threatened that if his demand was not met, it would be impossible to repair relations between the two countries.
For over three hours, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Ministers of the Security-Diplomatic cabinet discussed the issue. Ministers Yitzhak Aharonivitch, Yaakov Neeman and Benny Begin were against the release; Ministers Ehud Barak, Eli Yishai and Avigdor Lieberman were for it; in the end Netanyahu decided — all would be released, or deported. The result would be the same: None would be prosecuted.
The deportation was already beginning, as buses transported the Turks to Ben Gurion Airport. The minute a plane filled-up, it took off.
Itamar Eichner and Alex Fishman, Yediot, June 2 2010 [page 6; Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]
At the end of a security cabinet discussion and following a firm Turkish ultimatum, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu decided to instruct that the 600 foreign nationals who were arrested on board the flotilla headed for the Gaza Strip be expelled from Israel.
Yesterday, the Turkish authorities demanded that Israel release all 350 of the Turkish citizens who were among the 600 foreign detainees. For this purpose, the Turks sent three military planes to Israel and demanded to be given all the injured and detained persons and the bodies of those who were killed. In the security cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman recommended to immediately expel all the detainees from Israel. Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman expressed reservations, saying that legal action should be taken against the rioters. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein made it clear in the meeting that the security cabinet did not have the legal authority to order such an expulsion. However, the attorney general said that the security cabinet could recommend the expulsion of everyone, except for those who were arrested and suspected of belonging to terror organizations. He added in the discussion that if the cabinet were to recommend that he release the detainees for reasons of national interests, this could be considered favorably.
In the meeting, the decision on the matter was postponed until today, but in light of the great international pressure, particularly on the part of friendly countries such as France, Italy, Germany and the US, Netanyahu held another consultation, in which it was decided that there was no point in waiting with the decision to expel [the detainees]. “Following the security cabinet discussion, the prime minister consulted with the defense minister, the justice minister and Interior Minister Eli Yishai,” stated the Prime Minister’s Bureau, “and it was agreed that the detainees would be expelled immediately, subject to the legal proceedings required by law.” Last night already, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich instructed the Prisons Service commissioner to start the expulsion. Two hundred and fifty Turkish detainees and three bodies that were identified from the nine fatalities were supposed to be handed over last night to the Turkish representatives who arrived in Israel.