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‘Nobody believes Israeli lies’
Bülent Yıldırım, chairman of the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, held a press conference to respond to Israeli allegations. Yıldırım stated that Israel is lying about the massacre-like raid in whi
Palestine, MiddleEast, Turkey 05.06.2010

During the press conference held at Ali Emiri Cultural Center Yıldırım thanked Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, government officials, Turkish political parties and the chief of military staff for their support.

Yıldırım recalled that the attack was witnessed by journalists from dozens of countries and that the flotilla came under attack while in international waters, which are not owned by any state.

Israel employed violent tactics like a terrorist organization disregarding international law and exposed the flotilla to a barrage of fire, he indicated and said: “They are asking ‘why did you throw us water bottles, plates, and show sticks?’ What would you do if you were attacked by bandits armed with advanced weaponry? It was in self-defense. We did not respond with firearms; we did not have such an option anyway. We set out on this journey because we are human beings. We will do it again if needed. If Muslims do the same thing to Jews we will send similar convoys to their aid. This is our philosophy.” 

Yıldırım pointed to Turkey’s reaction to the incident and highlighted how people of Turkey displayed qualities of a big nation.

We set sail on this journey as concerned, unarmed civilians carrying humanitarian aid Yıldırım noted, “We came together as a group of rightist, leftist, liberal, atheist, Islamist, Muslim, Christian, Jews from different parts of the world.”


IHH leader said they launched the campaign to alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza, which is left to its fate, and added:

 “We did not want to be accomplice in crimes in Gaza by remaining silent. We did something to show that we were siding with the oppressed not oppressors. We were predicting they would intercept us with warships, divert us from the route, and employ every kind of method so we would not accomplish our goal. But we did not expect them to perpetrate a massacre, to orchestrate a terror attack against civilian and innocent people, to turn into such murderers and common bandits, and to attack the conscience of humanity.”  

Yıldırım stressed that the IHH has always stood by the aggrieved, the disadvantaged, hungry children and it would continue to do the same.

Israel is punishing a people, a city, Yıldırım said, “You may not get along with a state or approve a country’s government. These are legitimate policies, but you do not have the right to punish a people collectively. It is not legitimate to leave a city with no water, food, medication, home or shelter. If you employ such policies, then aid agencies will resort to civil disobedience. We will never stop informing the public about attacks on innocent, unguarded civilians.”

“Those who attacked us with firearms have launched another operation. The Israeli government has now started a defamation campaign against our institution. Lying is what they are best at. However, the current state of world public opinion shows that nobody believes Israeli lies.” 


“There are no terror agents as violent as Israel. The whole world witnessed this fact on the May 31,” Yıldırım said and added:

“As of this day we are hopeful about the fate of the aggrieved, the oppressed anywhere in the world. From now on no oppressor, murderer, bandit, terrorist, and dictator will get away with their crimes. None of us will let that happen. Just like Nazis were tried and convicted for what they did to Jews, and Serbs were tried and convicted for what they did to Bosniaks, now Israeli leaders will be tried and convicted by humanity for what they did. The whole world will follow the trial and conclude it.”

Yıldırım stated they had used technology better than Israel and would release footage and images of the incident in due time.


The IHH leader said they would carry on fighting for the removal of embargos in the name of peace and “Of course there will be new campaigns.”

Yıldırım responded to questions from journalists.

Asked “It is said that Israel would not pay compensation even if lawsuits are brought against it. What kind of a course are you planning to follow?” Yıldırım replied they could take Israel to the court for damage to the boats and for compensation.

We will continue to fight Israel in European, Turkish and Israeli courts, Yıldırım said, “Most of the suits we filed with Turkish courts were rejected. We will condemn Israel for numerous crimes. Our bags have been trashed, money taken, computers confiscated, cameras seized or smashed. My phone was confiscated. What happened to Israel as state of law? We possess huge information to bring more actions for damages against Israel.”  


We grabbed weapons from Israeli soldiers and threw them into sea, Yıldırım noted, “During interrogation they told me ‘You used weapons.’ ‘No,’ I replied, ‘You must have received signals from the weapons, and know that they are in the sea.’ They stopped talking. We learnt all about Israeli military before setting out.” 

We were treating wounded Israeli soldiers and were giving them water while news of martyrs kept coming, Yıldırım said, “We were facing a dilemma. ‘This and that got killed,’ our friends were saying as we were giving water to the wounded Israelis. Finally I removed my white shirt and said ‘That is enough, we surrender.’ Some of the activists were killed handcuffed after the surrender. One of the doctors with us was shot in the stomach 5-6 times while on his way back from returning wounded Israeli soldiers. I cannot remember his name right now.”

Yıldırım stated that they were attacked by a flotilla in international waters and they were besieged by three submarines, aircrafts, helicopters, and unmanned planes.  


Israeli troops attacked 88-year old priest and one-and-half year old child, Yıldırım said and added that they took the child from its parents.

Yıldırım recalled they came under attack as soon as Israeli commandos boarded the boat, saying:

“Israel claims that it used firearms 35 minutes after boarding the boat. Aren’t they aware of the damage caused by bombs? Our brother Cevdet was martyred by a rubber bullet shot from one meter distance. We tried to defend ourselves and pulled down these. We are revealing these not concealing. We did not have arms and defended ourselves with water bottles and chairs we could find on board. We would do the same if we were attacked again. Any one would do the same. But we did not kill them when they were wounded. They killed our friends in captivity. One of the martyrs was handcuffed. He was killed after being captured.”   

Asked about recent developments regarding the casualties, Yıldırım replied “We are still trying to learn how many foreigners are missing. Because the lists are mixed up. Three of the activists were still missing as of yesterday. Israel denied having them. However, when pressured they told us that the three activists were being treated at hospital.”

The IHH president noted that Israeli soldiers were carrying a hit list and were going to kill everyone on the list. He later handed out a copy of the list to reporters. 

Yıldırım stated that his name was on the top of the list and said that Israeli soldiers killed İbrahim Bilgen, a native of Siirt Province, because they mistook him for someone else. 

The IHH president noted that Israeli soldiers were carrying a hit list and were going to kill everyone on the list.


Asked by a Pakistani journalist “Are you pleased with the stance of the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference on the incident? Do you think their reaction was satisfactory? Are you thinking of organizing another flotilla?” Yıldırım responded:

“There are promising developments going on worldwide, but these developments will be much better when the truth is established. Therefore, some of the statements are satisfactory, some are not, but we are expecting stronger statements when all facts about the raid are revealed. We will submit revealed information to the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. We value peace immensely. We will carry on fighting for the removal of embargos in the name of peace. Of course there will be new campaigns.”

During the press conference that drew a number of foreign reporters three Jews held banners reading “Savagery of the state of Israel” to support the IHH.

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