Yıldız and Aktaş, who were known for their self-devotion and modesty, are commemorated in every part of Turkey with prayers on the second anniversary of their death.
The first commemoration ceremony for Yıldız and Aktaş took place at their graves at the Edirnekapı Cemetery in İstanbul following noon prayers. Families and friends of Yıldız and Aktaş participated in the ceremony, which began with Quran recitation and prayers. Later, IHH President Atty. Bülent Yıldırım delivered a short speech about Yıldız and Aktaş and said they were two valuable people who dedicated their lives to the Muslim ummah.
Yıldırım said the cause of the plane crash, whether it was an accident or not has not been revealed yet and he complained that Afghan authorities do not allow the examination of the wreckage of the plane.
He said Yıldız and Aktaş were travelling to Afghanistan, which is under US occupation, for orphan relief work and that these two people were fighting against imperialism for the Muslim ummah. Yıldırım noted that martyrdom of these two aid workers will set an example for the next generations inspiring them to fight against imperialism.
“These two graves are sites for next generations to take an example and learn something,” he added.
IHH administrators, officials and volunteers were also in attendance at the ceremony. The participants of the ceremony later visited the graves of Cevdet Kılıçlar and Necdet Yıldırım, two peace activists who were killed in an Israeli attack on Mavi Marmara in 2010, and prayed for them.
Works named after Yıldız and Aktaş
- Faruk Aktaş Quran Course in Kenya (100-person capacity)
- Bahattin Yıldız Quran Course in Kenya. (These Quran courses which were built in the Dadaab Refugee Camp are the only permanent buildings there.)
-Cevdet Kılıçlar and Faruk Aktaş Healthcare Center in Sri Lanka (This healthcare center gives service to locals in Sri Lanka where quality of healthcare services is very poor.)
-Bahattin Yıldız and Faruk Aktaş Orphanage in Afghanistan (It is a 100-person capacity, fully-furnished orphanage in capital city of Kabul.)
-Bahattin Yıldız Water Well in Cameroon has just been opened while the digging of another well is in progress. Two water wells were also opened in Somalia. These water wells serve for around 15,000 people.
-Bahattin Yıldız Primary School in Zanzibar, Tanzania (It is a 250-student capacity school.)
Who is Bahattin Yıldız?
He was born in Sivas in 1956. He graduated from the İzmir Imam Hatip High School in 1975 and from the Management Faculty of Atatürk University in Erzurum in 1987. His articles were published in Mavera, Güldeste and Gurbet magazines in addition to Milli Gazete newspaper. He wrote several books titled, “Savaşan Afganistan” (Warring Afghanistan), “Cihat Günlüğü” (Diary of Jihad), “Kar Çiçeği” (Flower of Snow), “Karda Ayak İzleri” (Footsteps in the Snow), “Güllerin Vedası” (Farewell of the Roses). He is survived by three daughters and two sons.
As he was leaving Afghanistan in 1982, he said in tears: “Hoda hafız biraderanı mücahidan! (I entrust you to God, my mujahideen brothers.) Yıldız talked about Afghanistan and martyrdom in all the books he wrote.
Who is Faruk Aktaş?
He was born in Iğdır in 1974. He completed his primary school and high school education in Iğdır. He lost his father at a very young age. He grew up as an orphan. In 2002, he graduated from the Islamic Law Faculty of the International Islamic University in Pakistan. He is survived by a six-year-old son named Muhammed Ferzan. His family lives in İstanbul. He began to work at the IHH six months before his martyrdom. He knew several languages such as English, Arabic and Urdu. Aktaş who was known for his gentleness, self-sacrifice and modesty was a person who set a model for others.