The Free Gaza Flotilla


Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara, 31 May 2010


Turkish aid workers killed by Israeli commandos

Furkan Dogan, 19, student at Kayseri High School; planned to become a doctor. Son of Dr. Ahmet Dogan, Assoc Prof at Erciyes University. A Turkish-American dual national, with two siblings. Killed on the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos with five gunshot wounds: Nose, back, back of head, left leg, left ankle.

Cengiz Akyüz, 41, from Iskenderun. Married with children aged 14, 12 and nine. Killed on the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos with four gunshot wounds: Back of head, right side of face, back, left leg.

Necdet Yildirim, 32, an IHH aid worker from Malatya. Married with a three-year-old daughter. Killed on the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos with two gunshot wounds: Right shoulder, left back.

Cevdet Kiliçlar, 38, from Kayseri. Originally a journalist, later an aid worker with the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH). Married with two children. Killed on the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos with one gunshot wound: Middle of forehead.

Ali Haydar Bengi, 39, from Diyarbakir. Graduate of Al-Azhar University, Cairo (Department of Arabic literature). Married with 4 children. Killed on the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos with six gunshot wounds: Left chest, belly, right arm, right leg, left hand twice.

Ibrahim Bilgen, 61, an electrical engineer from Siirt. Member of the Chamber of Electrical Engineers of Turkey. Married with 6 children. Killed on the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos with four gunshot wounds: Right chest, back, right hip, right temple.

Çetin Topçuoglu, 54, from Adana. Former amateur soccer player and taekwondo champion, who coached Turkey's national taekwondo team. Married with one son. Killed on the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos with three gunshot wounds: Back of head, left side, right belly.

Cengiz Songür, 47, from Izmir. Married with seven children. Killed on the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos with one gunshot wound: Front of neck.

Fahri Yaldiz, 43, a firefighter who worked for the Municipality of Adiyaman. Married with four children. Killed on the Mavi Marmara by Israeli commandos with four gunshot wounds: Left chest, left leg, right leg twice.

The Mavi Marmara was one of seven vessels constituting the Free Gaza Flotilla transporting humanitarian aid and aid workers to Gaza. Early on Sunday morning, 31 May 2010 at 0430 am, the Mavi Marmara was attacked in international waters in the Mediterranean by heavily-armed Israel assault troops (commandos) boarding from assault craft and rapelling from helicopters, shooting at the passengers as they boarded.

The flotilla carried more than 700 people from 36 countries and a humanitarian aid cargo of over 10,000 tons of supplies including 500 wheelchairs, children's playgrounds, medical supplies for the injured and the sick, other basic humanitarian supplies and construction materials for building new homes for the thousands of people who currently live in tents and in ruins and for building schools for the children of Gaza.

The aid activists intending to provide help and support for the besieged people of Gaza, came from all over the world to help, from Algeria, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Serbia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Yemen.

The flotilla included Members of Parliament and former MP's from Algeria, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Kuwait, Morocco, Southern Cyprus, Sweden, Yemen, members of religious communities including 89 year old Archbishop Helarion Capycci, plus representatives of NGOs and reporters from the international press.

Some of the passengers attempted to repel the attack and defend themselves with a variety of makeshift weapons. In the ensuing military action, nine of the passengers were shot dead by Israeli commandos, 23 seriously injured by Israeli gunfire and 31 passengers sustained other injuries caused by the Israelis on the ship and / or later in Israeli custody.

Murdered by Israeli commandos

Photographs of the Turkish activists killed by the Israelis are on the left.

Preliminary autopsy report The autopsy results on the bodies of those killed revealed they were peppered with 30 9mm bullets, many fired at close range. Five were killed by gunshot wounds to the head, according to the vice-chairman of the Turkish council of forensic medicine, which carried out the autopsies for the Turkish ministry of justice.

Dr Haluk Ince, the chairman of the council of forensic medicine in Istanbul, said that in only one case was there a single bullet wound, to the forehead from a distant shot, while every other victim suffered multiple wounds. "All [the bullets] were intact. This is important in a forensic context. When a bullet strikes another place it comes into the body deformed. If it directly comes into the body, the bullet is all intact."

The results revealed that a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old, named as Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back. Two other men were shot four times, and five of the victims were shot either in the back of the head or in the back, said Yalcin Buyuk, vice-chairman of the council of forensic medicine.

He added that all but one of the bullets retrieved from the bodies came from 9mm rounds. Of the other round, he said: "It was the first time we have seen this kind of material used in firearms. It was just a container including many types of pellets usually used in shotguns. It penetrated the head region in the temple and we found it intact in the brain." Source The Guardian 04/06/10

The Mavi Marmara's paoition at the time of the Israeli attack
The Mavi Marmara under nighttime attack by Israeli commandos
Note the two helicopters and gunboat with forward gun trained on the Mavi Marmara

At the time of the Israeli attack the MV Mavi Marmara was in international waters about 73 miles off the coast of Israel running on a bearing which would have ended up in Egypt. The ship's position and bearing, which was last recorded at 03:56 on 31st May by Marine Traffic, shortly before the Israeli navy jammed communications with satellite and other networks, is shown below together with a schematic representation of the attack. The Israeli naval task force consisted of four battle ships, three helicopters, two submarines and thirty zodiac boats, some photographs of which may be seen here.

Position of the Mavi Marmara at the time of the Israeli attack

The Mavi Marmara's position at the time of the Israeli attack
The original position map was downloaded on 20th June 2010
(from the Marine Traffic positioning website)

Schematic map of the position of the Mavi Marmara and the Israeli naval assault vessels

The Mavi Marmara's position at the time of the Israeli attack
This schematic map of the Israeli attack is taken from the Mavi Marmara Report

The Israeli military and the Israeli government have attempted to deflect responsibility for the killing and wounding of the passengers by employing a number of tactics. Firstly, claiming that their commandos suffered 'unprovoked attacks' and had to defend themselves against passengers armed with the 'weapons' shown here. Secondly, by a deliberate mis-information campaign, for example, falsifying a video of the communications between the Israeli attack force and the Mavi Marmara (here), by falsifying photographs of 'weapons' and activists on the Flotilla (here), and by claiming that those who they killed were 'extremists' who wished to die to become Shahid (martyr).

It does seem incredible that in 2010 any state can attack civilian ships in international waters, kill, wound and capture the passengers, take the ships to their own port and confiscate (steal) them, the cargo, the passengers' possessions, then charge the crew and passengers with illegal entry! The killing and wounding of the passengers is by far the worst of the Israeli actions, but there still remains the question of theft of the ships and cargo, the many hundreds of cameras, mobile phones, laptops and recording devices, credit cards, and the large quantity of hard cash being taken as a gift to various aid agencies and NGO's in Gaza.

For further information please refer to the the Sadaka paper Israel's bogus excuses for piracy and the Free Gaza Flotilla Report (External link, PDF 8.2MB).



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