Turkey on U.N. Probe: 'Israel Has Folded'

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Turkish media gloated over Israel's acceptance of a U.N. probe into the IDF raid on the Turkish flagship Mavi Marmara.

Newspaper headlines in Turkey claimed Israel had "waved a white flag" and "folded" to international pressure.

Nine Turkish insurgents died in fighting that ensued after Israeli soldiers were attacked as they borded the flagship of the six-vessel flotilla intent on breaking the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he not retract his demand for an apology from Israel and compensation for families of the insurgents who were killed.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped the U.N. probe would bring the facts to light.

In a statement issued on Monday, Netanyahu said Israel agreed to the probe "in the wake of diplomatic contacts that have been held in recent weeks to ensure that this was indeed a panel with a balanced and fair written mandate."

"Israel has nothing to hide," Netanyahu said. "Quite the opposite - the State of Israel's national interest is to ensure that the factual truth on the entire raid incident will be known to the world."

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice also welcomed the probe on behalf of the United States.

"The panel, which has the support of both Israel and Turkey, will receive and review the reports of each government's national investigation into the incident and make recommendations as to how to avoid such incidents in the future," Rice said in a statement.

"This panel is not a substitute for those national investigations. It complements them, affording Israel and Turkey the opportunity to present the conclusions of their investigations to the international community."

Rice welcomed "the constructive and cooperative spirit" shown by both Israel and Turkey and said the U.S. "hopes the panel can serve as a vehicle to enable Israel and Turkey to move beyond the recent strains in their relationship and repair their strong historic ties."

The U.N. panel will be chaired by former Prime Minister of New Zealand Geoffrey Palmer, who has a background in maritime law.

Outgoing Columbian President Alvaro Uribe will co-chair the committee, which will also include a representative from Israel and Turkey, who have yet to be named.

The committee will convene on August 10 and provide a progress support by mid-September.

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