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Countdown begins for Mavi Marmara’s arrival
Countdown has begun for the arrival of Mavi Marmara ship to Istanbul on Dec. 26. The ship, which was attacked by Israel on its way to Gaza, will be in İstanbul following months of longing.
Palestine, Turkey 20.12.2010

Mavi Marmara will be welcomed at the Sarayburnu Port of Istanbul with a ceremony at 1 pm. We expect everyone who want to raise their voice against Israeli brutality to attend this ceremony.

Mavi Marmara, which had been sent out to Gaza with prayers, will be finally at home. The ship which is currently towed at the Kepez port of Çanakkale, will be in Istanbul on Sunday.

The IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation is organizing a welcoming ceremony that befits the Mavi Marmara. Thousands of peace activists and human rights advocates from across the world and Turkey will be travelling to Istanbul for the welcoming ceremony. People from every corner of Anatolia will also travel to Istanbul in dozens of buses.

About the historic welcoming ceremony, IHH President Bülent Yıldırım said: “Israel and the entire world should see that Mavi Marmara is not alone. Sunday gives us the opportunity to prove this. Sarayburnu should see its most crowded day. We expect everyone to attend the ceremony.”

Mavi Marmara, which has become a symbol of freedom and human rights, was on its way to Gaza on humanity’s behalf when it was attacked. There were 578 humanitarian voluteers from 37 countries on the board the ship. There were six ships in the flotilla. In order to heal the wounds of Palestinians who live under Israeli blockade, the ships were carrying humanitarian aid materials, medication, medical supplies, cement, iron, children park equipments and  prefabricated homes, things Gaza was in desperate need of.

However, Israel stopped the ship brutally despite its humanitarian goals. Attacking the Mavi Marmara ship in international waters on 31 May 2010, Israeli commandoes martyred nine humanitarian volunteers and injured 54 others. Seizing the ships, Israel treated the passengers as if they were terrorists. After they were handcuffed, the passengers were taken to Israel’s Ashdod Port where they were interrogated for hours. The activists were subjected to Israel’s physical and psychological torture. The ships were sent back to Turkey on 7 August 2010. During the period Israel kept Mavi Marmara, it tried to remove the traces of its brutality on the ship. Israel seized all the photos and footage taken by activists and press members on board the ship. Israel has hidden all the evidence from the eyes of the world. Israel has neither offered an apology nor paid any compensation for the attack.

By giving “Medal of Courage” to the 13 Israeli navy commandoes who carried out the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again proved that he has no respect for human rights, international law and universal values.

Instead of offering an apology, Israeli state officials continue to commit crimes and hurt the humanity by making reckless statements.

Time has come to tell Israel to stop committing crimes. Time has come for the elimination of Israel’s unjust, illegitimate blockade over Palestinian public. Mavi Marmara which set sail to break the Israeli blockade is returning to İstanbul on Sunday. Let’s welcome the ship the way it deserves.

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