Archive

Archive for the ‘Ibrahim Bilgen’ Category

3 Aid Flotilla Activists Missing, Says Turkish Charity Head Bulent Yildirim

Thursday, June 3, 2010 ISTANBUL –

Funeral prayers are held in Istanbul for eight of the nine people killed on a Gaza aid flotilla as families around the country mourn their dead. At least three activists are still missing, the group that organized the flotilla says, vowing to send larger convoys to break the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

At least three members of the Gaza-bound aid flotilla that was attacked by Israeli commandos are still missing, the group that organized the convoy said Thursday as funeral prayers were given for eight slain activists.

“We have a longer list. There are still people who are missing,” Bülent Yıldırım, the head of the Humanitarian Relief Foundation, or İHH, one of the main organizers of the flotilla, told reporters at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport.

“Our doctors handed over to Israel 38 people who were injured, but they told us there were only 21 injured when we were returning.”

The İHH leader also said the group would send larger convoys to end the embargo on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Yıldırım and hundreds of other activists returned early Thursday to a hero’s welcome in Istanbul. About 1,000 people, some chanting anti-Israeli slogans, packed the city’s airport in the middle of the night to greet the planes carrying them back from Israel.

Seven planes were used to deport 527 activists to Turkey and Greece, said Israeli interior ministry spokeswoman Sabine Haddad, adding that seven other activists remained in Israeli hospitals for treatment of wounds suffered during the Israeli raid. Another plane brought 31 Greeks, three French nationals and one American to Athens.

The first plane contained the bodies of eight Turks and a U.S. national of Turkish origin. All were shot dead in the Israeli raid, according to forensic experts. The nationalities of the victims were determined after post-mortem examinations at a forensic institute in Istanbul, the Anatolia news agency reported. Forensic experts found bullet marks on all the bodies and determined that one was shot at close range.

The exact circumstances of the activists’ deaths are expected to become clear in a ballistics examination that will take about a month to complete.

The 19 wounded activists deported from Israel also suffered from gunshot wounds, according to the chief doctor of the Ankara hospital treating them. “The patients generally have serious injuries to their chests, abdomens and limbs. What we have is mostly gun wounds,” Metin Doğan said in televised remarks.

Israel charges that the passengers on the boat attacked its soldiers, but organizers of the flotilla say Israeli forces started firing as soon as they landed on the ship.

Families mourn

Funeral prayers for eight of the nine people killed onboard the Mavi Marmara were held at the Fatih Mosque in Istanbul on Thursday. The coffins of Cengiz Akyüz, Ali Haydar Bengi, İbrahim Bilgen, Furkan Doğan, Cengiz Songür, Çetin Topçuoğlu, Fahri Yaldız and Necdet Yıldırım were wrapped in Turkish flags. The crowd at the funeral chanted anti-Israel slogans before and after the prayers. The funeral prayer for journalist Cevdet Kılıçlar, an İHH member, will be held at the same mosque Friday.

Families of the victims also mourned in various provinces of the country. Photographs of Bilgen, who was a mayoral candidate from the Saadet, or Felicity, Party in the March 2009 local elections, were hung over busy streets in the eastern province of Siirt.

In Adana, Cumali Topçuoğlu, the brother of 54-year-old victim Çetin Topçuoğlu, said family members were happy because their brother had become a “martyr.”

In Diyarbakır, a condolence tent was erected in front of the Ulu Mosque for Bengi, the father of four children.

An official from the İHH identified 19-year-old Doğan, originally from the central Turkish town of Kayseri, as the U.S. national among the victims. Doğan, who held an American passport, had four bullet wounds to the head and one to the chest, according to the İHH’s Ömer Yağmur. The bodies were handed over to the victim’s relatives after the autopsies.

The United Nations and the European Union have harshly criticized Israel after its commandos stormed the six-ship flotilla in international waters, setting off the clashes. About 700 activists – including 400 Turks – were trying to break the Israeli and Egyptian naval blockade by bringing in 10,000 tons of aid.

Eyewitness accounts

Two Swedes aboard the aid flotilla intercepted by Israeli forces this week said they had witnessed “premeditated murder.”

“We were witnesses to premeditated murders,”

historian Mattias Gardell told Swedish public radio Thursday upon arrival in Istanbul.

“This was a military attack on a humanitarian aid operation far out in international waters,” said Gardell, a Swedish activist who was on the Mavi Marmara along with his wife, fellow historian Edda Manga, during the attack. “It was a very surprising and aggressive overreaction by Israel.”

Kuwait citizen Ali Buhamd said he saw a wounded Turkish citizen getting shot in the head. “The soldiers also left another Turk to bleed to death despite [his] calls for help,” he added.

Shane Dillon from Ireland, from the crew of the ship Challenger 1, said he witnessed some volunteers being beaten up and a Belgian woman’s nose being broken.

Of five Australians on the Gaza flotilla, two – journalists Paul McGeough and Kate Geraghty, who was injured by a stun gun during the Israeli raid – have returned to Turkey, daily The Australian reported on its website Thursday. Three others – Ahmed Luqman, who was shot in the leg, his wife, Jerry Campbell, and his sister Maryam Luqman – are reportedly still in Israel

Source

Gaza flotilla attack: Autopsies reveal intensity of Israeli military force

• Victims found with up to six gunshot wounds
• Israel ‘about to lose a friend’ warns Turkey’s US envoy

mmThe autopsy results released today by the Turkish authorities after the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla reveal in chilling detail the intensity of the military force unleashed on the multinational convoy.

Each of the nine victims on the Mavi Marmara in international waters off the coast of Israel in the early hours of Monday morning was shot at least once and some five or six times with 9mm rounds.

The results also reveal how close the fighting was. Dr Haluk Ince, chair of Turkey‘s council of forensic medicine (ATK), said: “Approximately 20cm away was the closest. In only one case was there only one entrance wound. The other eight have multiple entrance wounds. [The man killed by a single shot] was shot just in the middle of the forehead with a distant shot.”

The details emerged as Turkey warned that it may reconsider its diplomatic ties with Israel unless it receives an apology.

The deputy prime minister, Bulent Arinc, warned: “We may plan to reduce our relations with Israel to a minimum.”

Namid Tan, the ambassador to Washington, warned that Israel was “about to lose [a] friend”. He repeated calls for an independent investigation of the raid and end its blockade against Gaza.

Asked if Turkey might break off relations, he said: “We don’t want this to go to that point.” But he added: “The government might be forced to take such an action.”

Speaking at the funeral of the youngest activist, prime minister Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of betraying its religion. “You killed 19-year-old Furkan Dogan brutally. Which faith, which holy book can be an excuse for killing him?” he asked.

According to the scientists at the ATK, Dogan, who held US and Turkish citizenship was shot five times – from close range in the right side of his nose, in the back of the head, in the back and twice in the left leg.

The oldest victim was 60-year-old Ibrahim Bilgen, a Turkish politician, engineer and activist who was married with six children. He had been shot once in the right temple, once in the right side of his chest, once in the back and once in the hip.

Cetin Topcuotlu, a 54-year old former Taekwondo champion who worked as a coach for the Turkish national team, was shot three times – once in the back of his head, once in his hip and once in his belly. His wife, Cigden, who was with him on the Mavi Marmara said at his funeral on Thursday she would take part in further flotillas to Gaza with her son.

The detail of the wounds came as yet more survivors returned to the UK and gave their account of the attacks.

In a hastily arranged press conference in central Londonshortly after his Turkish airlines plane touched down at Heathrow, Ismail Patel, the 47-year-old chairman of the Friends of al-Aqsa, condemned what he called “the cold-blooded murder and killing of our colleagues”. He said: “These deaths were avoidable and I lay the blame squarely with the Israelis.”

Israel has previously said its troops had been left with no choice after they came under attack from activists armed with knives and iron bars when they were dropped by helicopter on to the ship.

Patel claimed that as soon as the Israeli Defence Force helicopter appeared above the Mavi Marmara,

“it started using immediately live ammunition” without any warning being issued.

After the first victim fell the white flag was raised, he said, but Israeli forces continued firing. “I think the Israeli soldiers were shooting to kill because most of the people who died were shot in the top part of their bodies,” he said. He believed that later victims were injured in their legs after a “tactical move” by the commandos to wound rather then kill.

Alex Harrison, a Free Gaza activist who was on the smaller Challenger yacht, which was crewed mainly by women, said the Israelis used rubber bullets, sound bombs and tasers against them.

“Two women were hooded, they had their eyes taped,” she said, describing how the yacht was quickly overwhelmed. “We stood and tried to obstruct the armed, masked men and maintained no other defence and still they used violence.”

Harrison, 32, from Islington, north London, also witnessed the Mavi Marmara being stormed from above by helicopter and said the Israelis started firing before their troops touched down on the boat.

“I have seen some selective footage that the Israelis have chosen to put out suggesting that we responded with violence,” she said. “You must remember that these are unarmed civilians on their own boat in the middle of the Mediterranean. People picked up what they could to defend themselves against armed, masked commandos who were shooting.”

The violence was “initiated by the Israelis on a massive scale,” she said, adding she was pleased her colleagues on the Rachel Corrie, an Irish vessel, were continuing to Gaza this weekend.

“I am thrilled they are going,” she said. “They know exactly what risks they face. They are doing what our government’s haven’t and I thank them.”

Both Harrison and Patel criticised the British authorities for failing to provide sufficient consular assistance while the activists were detained in an Israeli prison in Beersheva.

Patel said he was not visited by anyone from the British mission and Harrison said the consul told her that Israeli officials had prevented him visiting captured Britons.

“I did see the British consul,” Harrison said. “He told me that he had sitting outside the prison all day … asking for access and not been given it. I see that as an insult from Israel to the British, that they were denying the British consul the right that citizens have. I also see it as a sign that the British don’t have the strength to stand up to Israel.”

Foreign Secretary William Hague confirmed that a total of 34 of the activists on the aid flotilla were British, with all but two of them having been sent to Turkey by the Israeli authorities.

In Gaza City, the de facto Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, told crowds of worshippers at Friday prayers that Israel’s blockade was in its final stages.

“Now not only Gazans speak of the blockade, but also the [UN] security council and the international community. Everyone is demanding the siege be lifted.”

The nine victims

Cengiz Alquyz, 42

Four gunshot wounds: back of head, right side of face, back, left leg

Ibrahim Bilgen, 60

Four gunshot wounds: right chest, back, right hip, right temple

Cegdet Kiliclar, 38

One gunshot wound: middle of forehead

Furkan Dogan, 19

Five gunshot wounds: nose, back, back of head, left leg, left ankle

Sahri Yaldiz

Four gunshot wounds: left chest, left leg, right leg twice

Aliheyder Bengi, 39

Six gunshot wounds: left chest, belly, right arm, right leg, left hand twice

Cetin Topcuoglu, 54

Three gunshot wounds: back of head, left side, right belly

Cengiz Songur, 47

One gunshot wound: front of neck

Necdet Yildirim, 32

Two gunshot wounds: right shoulder, left back

Source