We didn’t kill intentionally, but maybe we did
Precisely 582 days after the Israeli Defense Forces raided the Mavi Marmara and - as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted last week - unintentionally killed nine Turks on board due to “operational errors,” the Turkish Air Force bombed a hoard of mostly teenage villagers from Uludere in southeastern Turkey, mistaking them for terrorists and killing 34.
About 15 months after the Mavi Marmara incident, a U.N.-sponsored investigation known as the U.N. Palmer report determined Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip to be legal, but stated that the “decision to board the vessels with such substantial force at a great distance from the blockade zone and with no final warning immediately prior to the boarding was excessive and unreasonable.”
Separately, in June 2012, Israeli State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss released a report on the decision-making process leading to the flotilla raid. The report found major faults with Mr. Netanyahu’s decision-making process over the events, claiming that he failed to organize an orderly and coordinated discussion with other Israeli leaders.
And about 15 months after the Uludere incident, the Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Examination Commission approved by a majority vote a report drafted by a sub-commission assigned to examine the controversy surrounding the Uludere killings. The Uludere report concluded that the investigations produced no evidence that the attack was intentional.
The chairman of the sub-commission and a member of the ruling Justice and Development Party, İhsan Şener, said: “The report’s finding that ‘there is no evidence that the attack was intentional’ does not mean the attack was not intentional.” I understand from what the honorable MP had to say that “the victims were not killed intentionally by the Turkish Air Force but maybe they were.” How mysterious!
Did the attack on the Mavi Marmara intend to kill? Did the Israeli military HQ roar with laughter and joy because Muslim blood had been spilled? Or was it a poorly-planned operation, a fiasco for which the Israeli prime minister would have to apologize almost three years later?
Did the Turkish military HQ roar with laughter and joy because Kurdish blood had been spilled in Uludere? Or was it a poorly-planned air strike based on poorly-processed intelligence?
I tend to believe that in both cases the tragic deaths of Turkish citizens should be blamed on gross operational mistakes. But what makes the Mavi Marmara galaxies away from Uludere in terms of legal, moral and political implications?
In May 2012, an Istanbul state prosecutor prepared indictments carrying life sentences for four Israeli commanders involved in the raid, charging each of them with first-degree murder, assault, and torture. The indictment called for ten life sentences to be imposed on each of them: nine for every activist killed, and one for a wounded activist still in a coma. The same month, the Israeli suspects were indicted by an Istanbul court after a panel of judges voted unanimously on the 144-page indictment which accuses them of inciting murder and injury.
Meanwhile, not a single Turkish officer/official has been indicted over Uludere, whether the death of 34 Turkish citizens in this incident was intentional or, as the parliamentary commission found out, “unintentional but maybe intentional.” Is this a “family affair” in which the father can kill a son and go unaccountable, but would campaign for revenge if a stranger killed his son? Amazing how little human ethos in this part of the world has evolved over the last 15 centuries!
This is the Islamist’s understanding of justice: religious discrimination not only against the living but also the dead.
From this column in the imminent aftermath of Mavi Marmara:
“Subconsciously (and sadly) the Muslim-Turkish thinking tolerates it if Muslims kill Muslims; does not tolerate it but does not turn the world upside down when Christians kill Muslims; pragmatically ignores it when too-powerful Christians kill Muslims; but is programmed to turn the world upside down when Jews kill Muslims.” (‘Why is Palestine “a second Cyprus” for Turks?’ Hürriyet Daily News, June 3, 2010).