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Announcement of UN flotilla report postponed

Aug. 22, 2011 12:57 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 23, 2011 6:36 P.M.)
ANKARA (AFP) -- A UN report due out this week into Israel's deadly 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla has been delayed again, the Turkish foreign ministry said Monday.

"The demand to postpone [the announcement] came from Israel, like the previous demands," Selcuk Unal, the spokesperson of the ministry told Turkey's Anatolia news agency.

Diplomatic ties between Israel and Turkey have been in crisis since May last year when Israeli commandos staged a deadly raid on an international aid flotilla trying to reach Gaza in defiance of an Israeli naval blockade on the Palestinian territory.

Nine Turkish activists were killed in the raid.

The publication of the report has been postponed at least twice this year to allow time for the two sides to reconcile their differences. The report was due to be released this week.

Turkey says relations between the two can only be restored if Israel apologizes for the raid, compensates the families of those killed and the injured, and lifts its blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Israel has steadfastly refused to apologize, although privately officials acknowledge that restoring the once-strong relationship with Ankara would be desirable.
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