Below, you can find the full text of Bulent Yildirim’s speech at the press meeting:
Dear Press Members,
I would like to welcome you all with my love and regards. We are here again to stand next to those who are oppressed whether it be in Gaza or anywhere else. First of all, I thank God for being able to still breathe.
I would like to make a confession before going into my speech. I was very impressed by the bravery and fortitude of those journalists onboard while we were under fire from all around. You are the people whose friendship and support will never be forgotten. I would like to thank you all the media institutions and members of the press with all my heart.
My Dear Friends,
While all those were happening, our nation has shown the world that it is a great nation with an excellent firm stance against the incident. Because of this, we would like to thank all our nation, our state with all its institutions, the President of Turkey, our Parliament who united as one and declared their condemnation altogether and our Government, our Prime Minister and Ministers, our Chief of the Military, all the political parties including the ruling party and the opposition, all our MPs, NGOs, the business community who realized the greatness of our country before everybody else did and all our volunteering activists coming from all over the world and risked their lives for this cause.
Dear Members of the Press,
We, people from all around the world including rightists, leftists, liberals, conservatives, atheists, Muslims, Islamists, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, that is, people from all walks of life, came together and formed a peaceful initiative which will act as the civilian, unarmed deliverer of humanitarian aid.
We embarked on our journey to show the people of Gaza who have lived under siege for years, that humanity is not dead.
We, the Freedom Flotilla, as a requirement of being a “civilian initiative”, have not received orders or support from any government.
Our strength derives only from the common conscience of humanity and we are encouraged only by our legitimacy.
We wanted to provide a little relief to the people of Gaza who were left on their own by most of the world governments.
We did not want to become partners in crime with the oppressors by remaining silent and doing nothing for Gaza.
We wanted to do something and show that we are on the side of the oppressed not the oppressor.
And of course, we knew that we have the Israeli government against us.
We knew that they are capable of blackening the most innocent formations in the world with their bloodthirsty empire based on lies and defamation and that they are capable of turning all the truth upside down with their power.
Well, in fact, we could guess that they would stop us with their warships, they could haul us to a different destination, they would do anything to stop us from achieving our goal, so to speak.
However, we never saw a possibility of that they would carry out a massacre of this scale, commit such terrorist attack on innocent civilians, turn out to be such monstrous and cruel bandits attacking humanity’s conscience.
Brothers and Sisters,
We were sailing in international waters. International waters are no one’s personal property.
Israeli terrorists opened fire on us before they boarded the ship and this is a clear violation of international laws, and of maritime laws which were formed through thousands of years. They did not act with the responsible and serious attitude expected of a state, they were purely like a group of bandits and cruel like a terrorist organization.
Journalists from all over the world are witnesses to this. You too are witnesses.
Now, what do these murderers say?
“Why did you throw water bottles and food plates to us? Why did you hold sticks up against us?”
Dear Press Members,
What would you do if terrorists open fire on your house from a distance and then come closer and break in to your house with their high-tech weaponry?
What we did was an act of self-defense. Self-defense is a legitimate act. It has been a legitimate act throughout history in all legal systems. I am a legal professional. This is what I know for sure.
Besides, we did not use firearms against those terrorists who fired live rounds towards us, we did not have that kind of facility anyway.
Some say to us “Why did you go there in the first place?”. We went there, because we are human! We went there because we are human. Humanity is not dead, we wanted to show that to all. That is why we went there and we are ready to do it again anytime.
If Muslims do the same kind of thing to Jews, we will again set out an aid convoy immediately. This is our philosophy. We try to reach everywhere with children crying because of hunger, everywhere with orphans and oppressed people.
A few months ago we were in Haiti.
As you may know, two of our friends martyred in an airplane accident in Afghanistan, they were there to build an orphanage.
We were there in Bosnia when the Serbs carried out massacres there.
When the hurricanes hit the U.S.A., we helped the Americans as well.
We went to the remotest locations of Africa.
We went to Iraq several times.
We went to Greece when the earthquake happened.
We went to Italy as well.
We went to all these places, because we are human. Because this is what life means to us.
You may have conflicts with a government, you may not approve of the ruling party in a country. These are all legitimate things.
But, you may not punish all people of a city collectively. You may not leave a whole city in darkness, hunger, without medicine and without homes. This is illegal. If you do that, you will surely face civil disobedience by humanitarian aid organizations. Civil disobedience is legitimate.
We came together as civilians from all around the world and carried out civil resistance. Some people advise us against such actions. Then what? Should we have obeyed the Israeli government instead of our conscience, instead of humanity?
Brothers and Sisters,
We will be telling about this massacre victims of which are innocent, unarmed civilians, to anyone till the end of time.
There will be no one left unaware of this unjust, cruel and illegal act, all people will condemn it.
Those who attacked us and massacred our friends with firearms are now on another attack mission.
Israeli government who has become a professional liar, is now carrying out a black propaganda campaign against our organization.
We know that they have the best artistic skills when it comes to lying. But, thank God, when we take a look at the international community today, no one seems to believe Israel’s empire of lies.
Israel is accusing us of supporting terrorism. This is the furthest point that their lies can go.
Israel kills innocent civilians, we martyr while trying to save them.
Israel kills babies, we martyr while trying to save them.
Israel dooms people to famine, we martyr while trying to deliver food to them.
Israel deprives people of their right to medication, we martyr while trying to deliver medical aid.
I am calling out to those wise people of conscience with compassion and concern: Which one is the terrorist?
Brothers and Sisters,
If we were to support terrorism, we would have supported Israel in the first place. There is not a greater terrorist than Israel. The whole world witnessed that once again on the 31st of May, 2010.
Respected Members of the Press,
From now on, we carry better hopes for those people who have suffered of oppression and injustice, hopefully a better future will be waiting for them.
From this day on, no dictator, no murderer, no oppressor, no gangster and no terrorist will get away with it.
None of us will allow this happen.
Just like the trials and convictions of Nazis who committed horrible crimes against the Jewish people and the trials and conviction of the Serbian rulers who were responsible for the crimes against the Bosnians, now, Israel’s Zionist government officials who are responsible for this massacre will be judged and convicted before humanity.
All humanity will be following this case till the end.
I would like to end my words by thanking you for attending this meeting.