One thousand boats will reportedly gather in Turkey on Wednesday and head toward Gaza in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade and disrupt maritime trade coming into Israel.
According to the Turkish news website Haber7, the boats will carry 4,500 people from 40 countries, “including anti-Zionist Jews.” Three hundred and thirteen of the boats will be filled with Russian activists, and 104 will be filled with Spanish activists. Only 12 Turkish vessels will join the flotilla.
Volkan Okçu, one of the organizers of the protest, says that the flotilla is scheduled to leave Turkish coasts on Thursday and vowed it will “strictly follow international rules” and will not carry any weapons, so as not to give Israel any “excuse” to intervene. It is set to make a first stop in Cyprus before continuing toward the Israeli port of Ashdod. Some participants in the flotilla will also reportedly take their spouses and children with them.
Bodrum'a geldim, akşam 8'e kadar yat ve yelken klüpleri ile görüşeceğim, uluslararası kulüplerden de ciddi bir katılım söz konusu birlikte hareket etmek en doğrusu gibi görünüyor…
— Volkan Okçu (@VolkanOkcuoglu) November 17, 2023
The protest action is reminiscent of the one attempted by the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” in May 2010, which tried to breach the maritime blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip but was intercepted by the Israeli Navy.
After the convoy refused Israeli Navy orders to reroute to Ashdod, Israeli commandos boarded one of the ships, the Mavi Marmara, which was carrying over 600 passengers. After being met with violent resistance the commandos opened fire, killing ten Turkish activists. Ten Israeli soldiers were also wounded during the attack.