Turkey commemorates the victims of Mavi Marmara

As the anniversary of Mavi Marmara raid enters to its 6th year, the families of the victims and the other activists who were in the flotilla await their goal to be achieved; lifting the siege on Gaza.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

The Mavi Marmara was the lead ship in a six-vessel convoy heading for Gaza.

Updated May 30, 2016

Turkey is marking the nine victims of Mavi Marmara who lost their lives in a raid by Israeli forces while trying to break a siege on Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid. 

A fleet with 750 activists from 37 countries across the world had sailed off an Istanbul seaport to break a siege by Israel, on May 31, 2010.

The Mavi Marmara flotilla, composed of six civilian ships, was filled around 6,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid and hoped to reach Palestinian shores.

People are seen waving the leading Mavi Marmara ship at Istanbul port.

The activists on the ships -almost at every ages- were so excited about their journey to the Gaza Strip, to which they thought they would bring freedom more than the aid.

They were so close, in fact. Perhaps, after a couple of more hours they would be able to reach their destination.

However, things didn’t go the way that they had planned.

In the morning of May 31, forces belonging to the Israeli Navy raided the Mavi Marmara with four war frigates, three helicopters, two submarines, and 30 zodiac boats.

Israel Navy forces approaching the Mavi Marmara bound for Gaza, May 31, 2010.

Some of the activists were shocked while the rest were not since it was not a surprising attack by Israel which they said would dare for such an action in the international waters.

Unarmed activists had tried to defend the aid they were carrying for the Palestinian people who were under the siege for years. But they had no chance against the Israel’s most elite forces who were heavily armed.

Israeli boats and helicopters are seen during the raid on the Mavi Marmara.

The raid has left nine Turkish activists dead behind with 30 others injured, including one activist who died nearly four years after being critically injured.

The incident, as a result, has strained the relations between Turkey and Israel which already had been showed slowing down in 2009 over Israeli aggression on Palestinians.

The two countries have been making effort to normalise the broken relations what Erdogan says would be achieved only if Israel meets three conditions; an apology, compensations for the Mavi Marmara losses, and lifting the siege in Gaza. The first three conditions have been accepted with the start of an apology by Netanyahu, but the siege stands as the obstacle in the negotiations.

Protesters in Istanbul march over Israels storming of Turkish boats bound for Gaza.

There is debate whether the agreement between the two states, but one thing is crystal clear that the victims of the incident will not be forgotten by the families nor the world.