By Associated Press, May 9, 2011
ISTANBUL — An aid flotilla will depart for the Gaza Strip in the third week of June, just over a year after a similar flotilla was raided by Israeli forces, leaving nine people dead on a Turkish boat, activists said Monday.
A coalition of pro-Palestinian groups, most of them based in Europe, announced the date in a statement after a meeting in Paris. The unfolding plans for the new flotilla set up a possible confrontation with Israel, which has vowed to stop any attempt to breach its sea blockade of Gaza.
Activists had originally planned to depart on May 31, the anniversary of the botched Israeli commando raid. The delayed departure appears at least partly related to Turkey’s plans for parliamentary elections on June 12. Turkish activists, who are in contact with the government but say they operate independently, had said they wanted to leave after the vote for fear any controversy could disrupt the election debate.