The 12th hearing of Mavi Marmara Case was heard in Çağlayan Court today. During the hearing Mavi Marmara activists who gathered in front of the court stated that they “will not give up the struggle no matter what.”
The 12th hearing of Mavi Marmara Criminal Case by 7th High Criminal Court of Istanbul was heard in Çağlayan Court. During the hearing which was followed by victims and their families and the activists of Mavi Marmara a press conference was held in front of the court.
IHH President Mr. Bülent Yıldırım gave the first statement to the press. After thanking Mavi Marmara volunteers who never stopped showing support for this case in any platform over the past 6 years he said:
“My dear brothers and sister, as you all know the blockade has not been lifted yet. On the contrary it has become more crushing and ruthless every day. It is with great regret that we observe that Israel has taken critical steps to establish legal justification for the blockade. No international authority including the USA and the UN have recognized Israeli blockade so far. However in his statement after the signature of the agreement with Turkey Israeli Consul General implied that Turkey had recognized the blockade and found it legally justified using some word play. It is their own opinion. We believe that no individual, power, or political party in Turkey recognize the blockade as legally justified.
The agreement concerned can never fix the Israeli-Turkish relations. Deterioration of Turkey-Israel relations is not due to Mavi Marmara incident only. It is because of the systematically reckless, oppressive, murderous attitude of Israel.”
“Our Weak Hand Against Israel”
Yıldırım highlighted that Turkey’s relations with Israel that kills Muslims in every opportunity, makes raids into Masjid Al-Aqsa will never get back to normal and added:
“You have never heard me saying something like this before. However today it is with great regret that I have to share this with all the world. We have a weak hand against Israel with this agreement. For the first time we feel weak against Israel. The articles of the agreement open the possibility of dropping the lawsuits filed against Israel not only in Turkey but also in Europe and USA which were great feats for us against Israel. The articles of this agreement have different meanings in Turkish, English and Hebrew when assessed from legal point of view. Also this agreement which was supposed to be signed in the capital cities of respective countries is signed by Turkish party in Ankara while Israeli party signed it in Jerusalem. The so called capital of Israel is Tel Aviv not Jerusalem which belongs to Muslims. Hence Muslims have been put in the situation of underdog with this agreement.”
“Agreement Reversed It Back to Pre-Mavi Marmara Situation”
Yıldırım continued his statement by saying that Israel did not keep his promise despite Turkey’s efforts with good will:
“We know those undersigned the agreement. None of them would accept Israeli oppression. Nonetheless they signed this agreement with different motives, possibly with the belief that Israel would slow down oppressing Palestinians. However if you look back at our arguments when we opposed this agreement you will realize that we are proven right unfortunately. Because Israel attacked Gaza and Masjid al-Aqsa right after the agreement in spite of Turkey’s goodwill efforts.
Israel has decreased Gazan fishermen’s fishing zone of 12 miles previously down to 6 miles. Indeed Israel opened Ashdod port to all organizations and countries because it did not want another flotilla set sail to Gaza. Israeli authorities made a statement that all humanitarian aid can come in through Ashdod Port. While Israel used to allow 2.600 types of items into Gaza, it increased it to over 4.000 items after Mavi Marmara incident. However right after the agreement Israel has decreased the number of allowed items back to 2.600.”
“We Know No Defeat!”
Yıldırım stated that the agreement might have disadvantaged them against Israel on legal grounds however they will never give up their struggle and “know no defeat”:
“I hereby announce here that we will keep up the struggle. We might stumble in the interim periods but our will is strong. We know no defeat even if we hit the ground. We spring back on our feet and keep going unflustered. We have gathered here today on the occasion of 12th hearing of this case. Together we will see if law is above politics, if justice will prevail. We will not let anyone take away our right to struggle for justice.
Now Israel says that it will pay 20.000.000 USD to Turkey. Meanwhile it charges a Turkish firm Yılmaz Holding 40.000.000 USD penalty without any justification. Yılmaz Holding CEO recently made a statement in which he posed a critical question that should be addressed to Israel. “Is Israel going to pay 20.000.000 USD to Turkey via Ministry of Finance or is it going to pay it from 40.000.000 USD it took from us through unjustified means?” In other words Israel is too cunning that it manoeuvres to pay the compensation to Turkey through the penalty unfairly charged to a Turkish firm. So we are already dealing with violation of this agreement.”
Yıldırım highlighted that he is not offended by anyone nor admonishing anyone. “Although we have a weak hand against Israel we will keep up the struggle” he said.
“I am not offended by anyone nor am I admonishing someone. Perhaps this was necessary for Israel to be exposed. We have been telling that Israel is arrogant and not reliable for complying with the agreements and keeping his promises and a murderer. Apparently our words were taken serious sometimes and not in other times. Since an agreement has been signed signatories will closely follow Israel and observe that it violates the agreement first hand. So Israel’s real evil face will be exposed to everyone.
It sounds offensive to some. Yet I will repeat it: Israel is another form of Hitler’s Nazi regime. It is the devil’s advocate. Israel has established a country based on the mission borrowed from Hitler: Sabra – Shatilla Massacre, Gaza Massacre, West Bank massacre. Don’t ever dare to bring anti-Semitic charges against us for saying all this. I would like to repeat it again, if Jews were killed in Gaza and Muslims were the oppressors of Jews Mavi Marmara would still set sail to Gaza to help them out. However it is the Zionists who carry out these massacres.
“Withdrawal of Agreement Not Legal”
Yıldırım pointed out that the currently proceeding court cases are an achievement of the Islamic world and added:
“It is an achievement of the Islamic world to bring the lawsuits filed against Israel in American and European courts to this stage. However I am also aware of that Crusader and Zionist alliance tries to push Turkey into corner by dividing it. Hence these decisions were made regarding the cases. Yet we say that law is above all and we will continue our struggle.
The cases will continue. The fact that an agreement was signed does not mean these cases are going be dropped. It is not legal to do that anyway. The cases will continue in Turkey. If the cases is dismissed we will appeal, we will go to the Constitutional Court. We will not leave a stone unturned. We will do that on behalf of you. If law is not above everything else in this world someone who is a powerful person’s relative comes and kills you tomorrow and he can get away with it. Then nothing happens. We are against it. Israel has murdered us in Mavi Marmara. Thus we will seek justice in legal grounds for this.”
“Israel wants to list IHH as a terrorist organization”
Yıldırım continued his speech saying that Israel believes that it has the upper hand now. Israel and its lobbies are working toward including IHH in the list of terrorist organization and that IHH is going to make sure that Israel becomes transparent sooner or later:
“I would like to call out to Israel from here. We are going to expose you thoroughly. We will reveal your dark face. You can challenge us with all your might. Even if you come at us with all your power in the world we believe in this: you are not more powerful than our sincere tears before God! And we will keep up our struggle over the blood of the martyrs and we will succeed if God willing. We hear that Israel is trying to shut down IHH in Turkey. It is trying to take IHH’s authorization to work for social welfare in Turkey and change IHH’s mission. It may be true. IHH is not only a relief foundation from the day it was established IHH has been an organization seeking for justice.”
“You’ll get the hell out of here!”
At the end of his speech Yıldırım warned that no one should be fooled and asserted that those who attempted to carry out a coup are no different than those who attacked Mavi Marmara.
“There is no difference between those who attempted to make a coup and what Israel has done. Because - do not buy what some say like “it wasn’t bearing a Turkish flag” and so on - Mavi Marmara was Turkey’s ship. And IHH is a foundation of Turkey. The ship belongs to IHH. A vessel that belongs to Turkey is considered Turkish soil according to maritime law. Later when putschists came and launched an assault on 15 July the legal procedure applying to them should be implemented in Mavi Marmara case too."
“We Don’t Seek Charity We Seek Punitive Damages!”
Mavi Marmara martyr late Çetin Topçuoğlu’s wife eşi Çiğdem Topçuoğlu who took the floor after IHH President Bülent Yıldırım said that they would like to see Israel to be prosecuted. Mrs. Topçuoğlu will be on board Women’s Boat to Gaza as a representative from Turkey. After asking for everyone’s blessing she said referring to the 15 July putschists:
“Mavi Marmara is our honour and dignity. Mavi Marmara attack which happened in 2010 exposed the war between good and evil. Unfortunately those who commented that “authorized permission should have been taken” have come up to us with a different power on July 15th. We are no different if we don’t stand up to the oppression. We as families of the martyrs are not going to withdraw our cases. We are not seeking charity we are seeking punitive damages. Those who claim that we are putting on a show are now going to witness a show at the expense of our lives and blood!”
“15 July Putschists tried to stop us”
Att. Cihat Gökdemir, legal representative of plaintiff in Mavi Marmara Case said that everyone expects the dismissal of the cases after the agreement. “However the case is not dismissed. Because this is a criminal case. Unlike action for damages there can be no foreclosure or dismissal in criminal cases until the court gives the verdict of conviction or acquittal. If somehow the case is dismissed nonetheless we will seek justice in international and national level till the end” he said.
Gökdemir relayed that ministry of finance has not notified the court regarding the agreement. "If the court is notified we will all see how the court will decide. We believe that the court is not going to dismiss this case” he said.
“How much should we ask for those killed in Gaza?”
Özgür – Der President Rıdvan Kaya was the last one to take the floor. Kaya said:
“Hz. Ali says that: Justice is not determined according to the people. People are moulded according to the justice. We are obliged to take a clear stand in this case just like in every other case. The oppression and suffering in this case is apparent and we have to stand up against it. I would like to ask those who advise that we should withdraw the case in return of 20.000.000 USD: How much should we ask for those killed in Gaza?”
Claim of Charge
In the formal criminal charges brought by Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office against former Israeli Chief of Staff Rau Aluf Ashkenazi, former Commander of Naval Forces Eliezer Alfred Marom, former head of Israeli Intelligence Amos Yadlin and Air Force Intelligence Director Avishay Levi, the prosecutor demanded nine aggravated life sentence for instigation of murder in the first degree, 18.032 year-prison for each for instigation of damage to property, instigation of qualified robbery, instigation of torture, instigation of prevention of communication, instigation of deprivation of liberty, instigation of wounding, instigation of shooting.
In 12th hearing of the case today (20.09.2016) when the presiding judge requested to inquire from Ministry of Justice for the existence of the rumoured agreement between Turkey and Israel, the representative attorneys of the plaintiff objected that the court’s such request from the execution can jeopardize the independence of the court as it can also be regarded as comments reflecting bias. Since an international agreement cannot influence a criminal case on trial according to the Turkish law a request as such is redundant.
The presiding judge did not ask the attorney objections to be written to minute and scheduled the next hearing to after 30 days. The attorneys again objected that “giving such short notice for the next hearing shows bias and the court’s intention to foreclosure as the previous hearings were scheduled in 3-month intervals. When the attorney insisted that their objections should be written to minute and the next hearing should be postponed so that they can prepare the statements in writing the panel of judges left the courtroom.
7th High Criminal Court of Istanbul hearing Mavi Marmara Case decided to inquire about if the agreement signed between Turkey and Israel is in effect or not and scheduled the next hearing on 19th October 2016.