BURAK BEKDİL > We didn’t kill intentionally, but maybe we did

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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).


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Notice on comments

Sandra Jacoel

4/2/2013 10:21:57 AM

Baris- the Turkish pilots weren't attacked like the IDF forces were. Metal batons and knives can cause serious injury. I certainly wouldn't want to see a son of mine have to be ordered to go amongst that angry and violent mob.

Marianne W

3/31/2013 11:29:35 PM

Thank you Burak Bekdíl.

Bear Klein

3/29/2013 7:12:37 PM

Only thing wrong here is the Isareli soliders where acting in self defense. They were not prepared for armed thugs. They had paint guns. So this is the operations mistakes Israel made. Boarding the ship instead of just making the ship rudderless. This is the operational mistake the Prime Minister of Israel is apologizing for. This is the what inquiry in Israel found. He did apologize for the blockade or enforcing it. He is going 65% of the way. Will Turkey go the other 35%? Friends or Not Choose

Jason Hoppell

3/29/2013 6:49:18 PM

BB is being attacked unfairly by some in here. He is only saying that events are interpreted and judged by political, religious, ideological, emotional and philosophical beliefs and affiliations and have nothing to do with facts. He rightfully avoided the misused word hypocrisy because it would have minimized his central thesis which is that our core thoughts and consequent interpretations and judgements are governed by the above mentioned affiliations. Excellent piece BB.

ismail demir

3/29/2013 6:02:15 PM

Stefanos, what law students think about drowning refugees at boats with waves created by high speed Greek navy passing near, or forcing refugees at the highly damaged ships to sail to Turkey, therefore drowning them at Aegean?I think law students will see these events worst than Uludere strike if they are not Greeks, since refugees are less likely to bring teror materials than Kurdish smugglers. I am sure if Greek civilians including babies were killed by Bangladesh navy you would seek justice!


3/29/2013 5:26:30 PM

A pathetic comparison. MM murderers got medals and public praise. TSK did not kill any foreign citizens in international waters. Certainly did not kill unarmed men one by one in close range, knowingly. How unfortunate that BB makes this an "Islamist" and AKP issue. Shameful really.

Laz Kemal

3/29/2013 3:59:38 PM

Comparing the responsible parties for Uludere and MMarmara is like mixing apples and oranges. What happened to those poor teenagers at Uludere is a very sad and tragic event. But instead of blaming the government or the military officers why is it that nobody is asking the most significant question which is where were the parents or who are the adults who manipulated these poor kids and used them as smugglers in an extremely dangerous border region where PKK terrorists regularly sneak thru

mara mcglothin

3/29/2013 2:41:23 PM

VARGEN As always, "hindsight is twenty twenty!"

ismail demir

3/29/2013 2:03:58 PM

Uludere strike is similar to Bulgarian or Romanian navy attacks to Turkish fishermen (result in deads) in the past.Although Turkish fishermen claimed they mistakenly entered Bulgarian or Romanian waters (opposite of Kurds defend smuggling although half the Turkish State income based on petrolium or cigarette tax, smugglers harms), Turks did not make such a cry.Muslims do not kill muslims phrase is created by Burak Bekdil attributed to Erdogan, after Erdogan said muslims do not make genocide.

Stefanos Kalogirou

3/29/2013 1:08:16 PM

@Nageyec Conduz you are confused with day-time and night-time. I am sure if 34 innocent juvenile Turks were killed by a Kurdish airforce you would seek to punish the perpetrators. Everything would be crystal clear! I suppose for you the kurdish victims are to be blamed and never the turkish.
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