Turkey and Palestinians stood together today to honour the ten Turks murdered by Israel aboard the Mavi Marmara aid ship headed for Gaza four years ago.
On the same day the Palestinian unity government is to be announced, Gaza-based Palestinian NGO House of Wisdom brought all factions together with Turkish Ambassador Mustafa Sarnic and Turkish aid agency IHH, owners of the Mavi Marmara, in a show of not only Palestinian, but Ummah unity.
The commemorative events began at Gaza seaport beneath the memorial erected in honour of Cengiz Akyüz (42), Ali Haydar Bengi (39), İbrahim Bilgen (61), Furkan Doğan (18), Cevdet Kılıçlar (38), Cengiz Songür (47), Çetin Topçuoğlu (54), Fahri Yaldız (43), Necdet Yıldırım (32) and Ugur Süleyman Söylemez, who died from his injuries this week aged 51. (more…)
Gaza, ALRAY – Mohammed Hasna, the representative of the Organization of the Islamic Conference said that the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation, IHH, intends to send Mavi Marmara 2 to the Gaza Strip in a new attempt to break Gaza blockade.
Hasna said that the foundations’ decision came in a special session on Gaza during a conference held by the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Istanbul.
Several Islamic organizations provided donations to help the affected Palestinians in the Gaza Strip due to the recent winter storm.
The World Assembly of Muslim Youth(WAMY) announced its donation with one million dollars to the Gaza Strip, and Qatar Charity donated with also one million dollars.
Hasna mentioned on his facebook that many countries and organizations have donated with different sum of money to the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli massacre on board the Mavi Marmara on 31 May 2010 in which nine Turkish men lost their lives was commemorated for the third year beneath the memorial statue at the Gaza fishing port last Friday.
Turkish and Palestinian officials, and a large contingent of locals, foreign activists, and international visitors braved the blazing sun to pay tribute to the fallen men, and to convey a strong message that their message did not die with them.
Ghazi Hamad, Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs in Gaza, pointed out that both the Mavi Marmara incident and the siege of Gaza are not just Turkish and Palestinian concerns, but should be the concerns of all Muslims everywhere.
Gaza representative of the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) Mehmet Kaya, owner of the Mavi Marmara, was emphatic that Israel’s apology was not an adequate response, and that nothing short of lifting the Israeli siege of Gaza would suffice.
“The families do not want money, they want to continue the struggle for what the nine murdered men were trying to do, and that is to end the siege,” he told the hundreds gathered at the port.
Mohammad Hindi spoke on behalf of Palestinian resistance groups, saying that the deaths of the nine men in their attempt to break the Israeli siege have already gone down in history.
The dead, most of whom left wives and children, were Ibrahim Bilgen – 61 years, Çetin Topçuoglu – 54, Cengiz Songür – 47, Fahri Yaldiz – 43, Cengiz Akyüz – 41, Ali Haydar Bengi – 39, Cevdet Kiliçlar – 38, Necdet Yildirim – 32, and Furkan Dogan – 19.
After the speeches the crowd moved down onto a dock, where many threw roses into the water.
04 November 2012
Mehmet Kaya, IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation Gaza Representative, today addressed a Press Conference at the Mavi Marmara Martyrs’ Monument at Gaza sea port about the Mavi Marmara trial against Israel which will begin at Çağlayan Courthouse in İstanbul on 06 November, and is expected to last three days.
IHH was one of the organisers of the Freedom Flotilla, and has played a significant role in getting the case to trial.
In an exclusive interview, Mehmet Kaya said that the significance of the trial is that Israel will be held accountable for killing “our brothers and friends in international waters”
He said the case is against Israel, the Israeli army, and the President, and that they hope to prevent them travelling freely around the world because they are guilty of crimes against humanity and crimes against Turkey.
He is not concerned that Israel may ignore the court case and its decision, as he believes Turkey will get justice in the end, although it will take some time.
Mehmet Kaya called on the international community to do the same as Turkey, and hold Israel accountable for its actions.
Richard Falk, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, and Law Professor, endorses Turkey’s action in this matter, saying that Turkey’s initiative shows how national courts can play a role in setting international law in motion.
Speaking to Zümrüt Sönmez from IHH Media Department recently in Istanbul,Falk said that international law, particularly the United Nations, failed in the aftermath of the Mavi Marmara attack, and that the staging of such a trial in Turkey is a significant effort in terms of guarding the values of international law, and making it effective.
IHH reports that the defendants in the trial are former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of General Staff General Gabi Ashkenazi, Naval Forces commander Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom, Israel’s military intelligence chief Major General Amos Yadlin and Air Forces Intelligence head Brigadier General Avishai Levi. They will be tried as “fugitive suspects.”
There are 490 complainants and victims in the case including flotilla passengers from 37 countries, and relatives of the martyrs.
Flotilla passengers from Turkey and other parts of the world, relatives of the Mavi Marmara martyrs and their lawyers will be present at the trial. The trial will be closely followed by human rights observers from Turkey and abroad, media members, jurists and representatives of non-governmental organizations.