Inaccuracies in BBC diplomatic correspondent’s description of Mavi Marmara

Turkey’s recent diplomatic moves – including the agreement signed with Israel – were the subject of an article by the BBC’s diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus which appeared in the ‘Features’ section of the BBC News website’s Middle East page on June 29th under the headline “Turkey plays diplomatic chess in Middle East“.

Explaining the former nature of ties between Turkey and Israel and what caused the six-year-long rift, Marcus told readers that:

Marcus art Mavi Marmara

In fact, in May 2010 the Mavi Marmara was not “Turkish-flagged” but was registered in Comoros and flew that flag of convenience at the time.

MM registration

Neither was the Mavi Marmara an “aid vessel”: it was a passenger ship (carrying 546 passengers) which formed part of a flotilla of six vessels, only three of which were carrying ‘aid’, as the Palmer report noted (p 47):Marcus Turkey art

“If the flotilla had been a purely humanitarian mission it is hard to see why so many passengers were embarked and with what purpose. Furthermore, the quality and value of many of the humanitarian goods on board the vessels is questionable. There were large quantities of humanitarian and construction supplies on board the Gazze 1, Eleftheri Mesogeio and Defne-Y. There were some foodstuffs and medical goods on board the Mavi Marmara, although it seems that these were intended for the voyage itself.  Any “humanitarian supplies” were limited to foodstuffs and toys carried in passengers’ personal baggage. The same situation appears to be the case for two other of the vessels: the Sfendoni, and the Challenger I. There was little need to organize a flotilla of six ships to deliver humanitarian assistance if only three were required to carry the available humanitarian supplies. The number of journalists embarked on the ships gives further power to the conclusion that the flotilla’s primary purpose was to generate publicity.”

The BBC has previously corrected or amended reports which included the inaccurate description of the Mavi Marmara as an “aid ship” and clearly this article requires the same treatment.

Related Articles:

BBC recognizes that the Mavi Marmara was not an “aid ship”


5 comments on “Inaccuracies in BBC diplomatic correspondent’s description of Mavi Marmara

  1. One would have thought that there was some ‘political direction’ which ‘interferes’ in all BBC ‘stuff’ pertaining to Israel. But. The BBC claims to be ‘fair and balanced’. Which makes one wonder about its other nefarious claims of political neutrality.

  2. Jonathan Marcus always seems to me, to have a particular down on Israel. Perhaps he tries harder to be an ‘objective as a Jew’.

  3. BBC Watch readers will remember Jonathan’s malicious endorsement of vile Jew-hater Richard Silverstein’s claims that Israel’s wonderful life-saving Iron Dome missile defence system had a lower success rate than reported during Operation Pillar of Cloud in 2013.

    On the Mavi Marmara Jonathan is clearly maintaining his sullied reputation for Isra-hate inaccuracy and audience-misleading flim-flam.

  4. With hundreds of “passengers” and so many journalists the purpose was of course active pr but also almost a military aggression. Once again we must congratulate the PM to have stood up toi that aggression no matter how many terrorists were killed.. Even Erdogan recognizes now this 6 ships flotilla was amistakeand could have been even a casus belli even if the ships were not turkish.

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