Nine Turkish citizens, including four journalist and activists were detained and interrogated on Thursday by Israeli authorities at Ben Gurion International Airport.
The Turkish citizens were travelling to Jerusalem for an iftar organisation held by Turkish Sadakatasi Association annually during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
Executive editor of Ulke TV Hasan Ozturk, Halime Kokce of Star newspaper, Ozden Ayvaz and Huseyin Gunay of TRT News, Levent Uslu representing non-government organisation Memur-Sen, Kemal Ozdal, head of Sadakatasi Association and volunteers of the association Fatih Bolcan, Sumeyra Bolcan,
Durdane Ozdal were deported by Israeli authorities after being interrogated for six hours.
Fatih Bolcan told Yeni Safak newspaper that during the six-hour-long interrogation, they were questioned about who organises marches for Palestine in Turkey. In addition they were asked many questions regarding the governing Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos raided Turkish Mavi Marmara ship - Comoros-flagged passenger ship owned by a Turkish NGO, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), - in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea as it sailed to Gaza in a bid to break the Israeli enforced blockade.
The raid resulted in the death of 10 Turkish nationals, including one American passport holder and another man who succumbed to his injuries after being in a coma for almost four years.
Public demonstrations around Turkey followed the deadly incident, protesting the Israeli offensive on unarmed activists, as well as in many major cities around the world since the attack sparked harsh criticism in the international community.
“We are under detention for six hours at the Ben Gurion Airport with a group of journalists and activists. They questioned us individually,” Halime Kokce wrote on her twitter account.
In another tweet she wrote the group’s cell-phones were confiscated by Israeli officials and their WhatsApp conversations and contacts were quizzed.
Kokce said in her final tweet that they were informed that they were being deported and banned from entering Israel for 10 years.
The Sadakatasi Association holds iftar organisations in Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque annually - which being the fourth one this year - during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, which is deemed one of the five pillars of Islam.