Balkan Summit Condemns Israeli Raid on Gaza Flotilla

13 southeastern European countries, including Turkey, call for independent and internationally credible investigation on Gaza flotilla deaths.

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Turkey and 12 other southeastern European countries on Wednesday denounced the recent Israeli raid on an aid flotilla headed to Gaza, which left eight Turks and one Turkish American dead.

Israel Navy forces approaching the Mavi Marmara bound for Gaza, May 31, 2010.Credit: Reuters

The countries said in a joint declaration at the end of a Balkan summit that they want an impartial, independent and internationally credible investigation on this matter. They also stressed the urgent need to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Nine pro-Palestinian activists - eight Turks and an American-Turkish teenager - were killed after a squad of naval commandos boarded a ship trying to breach Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israel says its soldiers began shooting only after a mob of activists attacked them.

The statement came at the end of a meeting of the 13-member Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP).

Meanwhile, Haaretz learned late Tuesday that Arab and Muslim members of the United Nations, led by Malaysia, are working toward assembling an emergency UN session to discuss Israel's last month raid of a Gaza-bound flotilla.

The resolutions reached at an emergency UN session do not bear immediate practical consequences, and are considered recommendations. However, the representatives of dozens of member states could be allowed to speak at such a session, a fact that could turn the debate into a massive diplomatic assault against Israel, which, in turn, could add to international pressure on Israel to lift the blockade on Gaza.

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