Mavi Marmara raid victims remembered

Mavi Marmara raid victims remembered

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Mavi Marmara raid victims remembered

Families of the victims of Israeli raid on Mavi Marmara hold a press conference. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

On the second anniversary of the deadly Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara flotilla, families of the victims and activists said their ship was still on its way to free Gaza, with millions of supporters.

“Two years ago today, we were on our knees, handcuffed. Today, we are at a point all the world is watching and condemns what happened that day,” Hüseyin Oruç, the vice president of the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH), said yesterday, speaking at a press meeting held in front of the Mavi Marmara itself.

“We were all alone in the middle of the sea, some were reading the Quran, and some were playing saxophones or guitars, until we saw the lights of the Israeli helicopters,” said one activist, Çiğdem Topçuoplu, who lost her husband Çetin Topçuğolu in the raid.

Families and activists spent the previous night on board the Mavi Marmara, talking about the incident and praying for the murdered activists. Topçuoğlu said all the memories were still very fresh for her. “Then I heard the bullets being fired. I can still feel it. Blood was coming from my husband’s nose and mouth. He could not breathe, and he died on my knees. I covered his body and went to help the injured,” she said. On May 29 an Istanbul court formally pressed charges against members of the Israeli military who were involved in the Mavi Marmara incident, demanding nine consecutive life terms for four commanders.

The indictment said the four faced prison for “inciting to kill monstrously and by torturing.” Oruç said 197 other Israeli soldiers for whom the court has identity information will also face charges soon.
“Four high-level officials have been charged now, but this is not enough,” he told the Hürriyet Daily News. “The European countries and the U.S. cannot stand idle after the Turkish court’s ruling. They will be wanted internationally some day. They will not be able to travel easily in the world.”

Mavi Marmara ready for a new voyage

Oruç also said the ship is ready for a new trip to the Gaza Strip, although there no action planned for now. “If needed we are ready to break the blockade again,” Oruç said. Meanwhile, another commemoration was held in Yemen. Protesters who gathered in “Change Square” prayed for the nine Turkish citizens who were killed, according to Anatolia news agency. The İHH also organized a march in Taksim Square at 7 p.m. yesterday.