Full text of the press statement:
Blockade on Gaza should be lifted, criminals should be punished
Mavi Marmara, which was part of the cause of Palestine and Jerusalem, was carrying the aid and conscience of humanity, Israel attacked the symbol of human dignity.
As family members of Mavi Marmara martyrs, we are sadly following the debates on the compensation issue in the Turkish and international media following Israel’s offering an apology to Turkey for its Mavi Marmara attack. These debates are made disregarding the goals of the Mavi Marmara and Gaza Freedom Flotilla to set sail to Gaza. We should note that we were for the first time officially informed about the process by the government at a dinner hosted by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç on April 2. Although we expressed our uneasiness about the developments concerning the compensation issue at this meeting, a delegation led by Arınç hastily planned some meetings with Israeli officials and Arınç made some statements implying that we can give up from our legal struggle which are all without our knowledge and disturbing. We don’t think Arınç will make any positive contribution to this process.
We, who lost their children, fathers, brothers or husbands, in the Mavi Marmara attack, see that some people are making plans and giving figures about the compensation on behalf of us after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a phone call to Prime Minister Erdoğan offering his apology for the Mavi Marmara attack three years after the incident. At this point, we felt the need to respond to claims that acceptance of Israel’s apology and restoration of ties with Israel depends on the compensation issue and once Israel pays the compensation to the families of the victims, all the legal cases against Israel will drop.
Our relatives who were martyred on Mavi Marmara had the same goals with thousands of Muslims who fought for Palestinian cause and paid a heavy priceuntil today. They were aiming to take food, medicine, toys to the oppressed people of Palestine and their children, found play grounds for the children, embrace with Gazan sisters and brothers who suffer from a fatal blockade whose illegitimacy was confirmed by UN reports and international legal norms. Some of the activists, who were also raised as orphans, would make the orphans in Gaza happy. They were carrying the love and conscience of humanity to Gaza in addition to humanitarian aid that came from all across the world. But, Israeli soldiers added yet another massacre to the history of the humanity with the attack they made on Mavi Marmara. They rained down bullets recklessly for hours on the bodies of our relatives who were just defenseless aid volunteers and did not have any guns. By shooting at the injured from a close range, they martyred them intentionally and deliberately. A massacre which was broadcast live took place on Mavi Marmara ship. There could be no apology for this crime which was committed against humanity. Talks which are made in line with the practices of the international law between the states cannot influence our legal struggle. So, we think claims suggesting that we will give up from ongoing criminal cases against Israeli commanders and our entire legal struggle, are nothing more than insults.
For about 70 years, Israel has been tracking every Nazi and asking an accounting from them for their actions [against Jewish people]. Let alone making Nazis to pay a heavy compensation for the crimes they committed, Israel even tries a 90-year-old Nazi and punishes them and it vows to do this until the country finds all the Nazis involved [in the killing of Jews]. In consideration of this, we see that when its crime and massacre is in question, Israel just tries to cover up its crime quickly and flee from responsibilities. Moreover, we see that Israel’s tyranny in the region continues, Gaza is still under the siege and intervention of Israel at any moment, it tries to change the real identity of Jerusalem and make our Palestinian sisters and brothers suffer greater pains every passing day. So, when the blockage on our Palestinian sisters and brothers is not lifted and no step has been taken to restore the rights of the people victimized in Palestinian lands, we see holding of compensation talks with Israel as a sign of disrespect to the memory of our martyrs.
Mavi Marmara is the symbol of human dignity. Palestinian people deserve at least as much as other people to travel freely and lead a dignified life. So, we would like to announce that we see Mavi Marmara as a part of the cause of Palestine and Jerusalem and a trust from our martyrs, we will continue our struggle to this effect with determination throughout our lives and we will never give up from legal cases against Israeli military or civilian officials who were involved in Mavi Marmara attack.
As a result:
1-Blockade on Gaza should be lifted.
2-It is impossible for us to give up from any of the legal cases against Israel, we demand punishment of the criminals.
3-Without the removal of the blockade, no issue including the compensation should be discussed by Israel.
ON BEHALF OF MAVI MARMARA MARTYRS’ FAMILIES:
BAHTİYAR MUSTAFA ÖZORAN (SONGÜR FAMILY)