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Mavi Marmara victims ask for justice

The Gaza Freedom Flotilla organizers, victims, lawyers and activists from 20 countries who came to Turkey for the 5th hearing of Mavi Marmara trial called on the court to make a decision to arrest the criminals during a press conference.

The 5th hearing of Mavi Marmara trial was carried out in Çağlayan Courthouse on the 27th March, 2014. The next hearing will be held on the 26th May, 2014.

The Gaza Freedom Flotilla organizers, the victims, lawyers and activists from 20 countries organized a press conference in order to evaluate the decision of the 5th hearing of the case and gave information related to the next judicial process.

Berlin: Israel didn't commit this crime against only Turkey

Speaking in the conference held in the IHH headquarters in Fatih, one of the organizers of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, Greta K. Berlin from Greece said that she is the founder and organizer of Free Gaza in the USA. Mentioning that there are lawyers, victims and passengers from 20 countries Berlin said ¨Israel didn't commit this crime against only Turkey, but against all people in the flotilla coming from 37 different countries.¨

One of the American passengers in the flotilla, David Schermerhorn said that ¨They wanted to enter Gaza by ships for the first time in 2008 and they succeeded.¨

Schermerhorn: The case in Turkey will be a model for all the world

Mentioning that Israel started to halt ships in 2010, Schermerhorn talked about his flotilla experience as: ¨We had a small ship in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. We joined the flotilla offshore near Cyprus. They attacked towards morning. We saw everything clearly from our ship. The passengers of Mavi Marmara were trying to stop soldiers desperately, but they couldn't. Israeli soldiers reached our ship in a short time. Even though the odds were stacked against us, we tried our best and they were faster than us. It was enough for them to shoot our ship once. I wanted to go to the wheel house and take photographs of the incidents. On my way, a gas bomb exploded in front of my feet and my eyes were hurt. They lost many of their functions. I still get my eyes examined each month. They give an injection into my pupil. I cannot compare our experience with that of the people in the Mavi Marmara. And when we arrived in Israel, the Israeli soldiers were welcomed as if they were heroes.¨

Implying that the case in Turkey is very important, Schermerhorn said that ¨Israel has been condemned for the first time. The USA is also responsible for many of the crimes committed by Israel. The USA has never judged Israel until now. I think the case in Turkey will be a model for the entire world¨

Cadman: This is the first trial against Israel

Mentioning that he was not in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla but he is a lawyer attending the case from England, an expert in war crimes, extradition human rights and international criminal law, Toby Cadman pointed out the importance of the case in Turkey:

¨This case is a legally valuable case. I want to mention the importance of the case in Istanbul. This case is the first case that is filed against Israel. Some other steps have been taken in other parts of the world related to this incident too. I will support these cases as much as I can. This case is also a political one. Its importance relies on that everyone is equal. Israel committed many horrendous atrocities including murder and torture. These are the most serious offenses in international criminal law. The ones who committed these crimes must be punished. The victims must get their due. The crimes committed by Israel here are unimaginable crimes. It is shocking for me that these crimes were committed in international waters and the people of the world closed their eyes to this. This is a shame of humanity. For this reason I will go on my legal struggle whether in Washington or London.¨

Thanks IHH

Extending his thanks to IHH, Cadman said ¨I have become a part of the team in the court. There can't be any other country in the world that let foreign lawyers to follow their cases. This is a great kindness.¨

Patel: International community should break relations with Israel anymore

The lawyer of South African passengers of Mavi Marmara started his speech by extending his sympathy to the relatives of the martyrs and the wounded.

Emphasizing that the struggle of South Africa against Israel started after the ¨Operation Cast Lead of Israel¨ towards Gaza, Patel said ¨We started to work to claim the rights of Palestine. We came together after the flotilla in order to support the trials against the crimes according to the international criminal law. We tried to do our best as South Africans. In the judicial system in South Africa, after the application of trial, the authorities start the investigation after they agree the convenience of the criteria. The investigation started there. South Africa said that it can team up with Turkey. That's why we are here,¨

Patel said ¨We have been listening repeatedly to the same crimes for some time. Something must change in the course of the trials. I call for the decision to arrest the criminals. If this happens, we can also put pressure on our court in South Africa for a decision in this way. If a decision to arrest criminals is made, the members of the Interpol (The International Criminal Police Commission) have to discharge the responsibility. Our struggle is also against lobbying. Israel has been committing serious crimes. International community must say stop to Israel. They should break their relations with Israel. Only then, they can prevent Israel to commit more crimes. The press should also reveal all the crimes presented here to the world.¨

Yıldırım: We will uncover those who are standing by Israel

Pointing out that the case in Turkey is a hope for Palestinians; IHH President Bülent Yıldırım said, “For the first time a trial against Israel has been carried out. Israel has been trying to make agreements with many political operations but it doesn't want to lift the blockade. Its only demand from Turkey is to give up the claim,¨

Mentioning that some bureaucrats in Turkey support Israel, Yıldırım continued as: ¨We face not only a legal process but also a political one. We say we will not give up the claim. These cases are not only related to Gaza, but Palestine as a whole. These cases are a hope for Palestinians. We announce that we will struggle tenaciously against the people who ask for the rescission of the trials including the one in Turkey. The startup of the actions is a success in itself. Those who ask for the rescission of the trials will go down in history as traitors. This will be narrated to their generations, also. We will announce those who stand by Israel. We will win the case and Israel will see this. The decision to arrest criminals will be made. Those who give orders to attack the flotilla will spend the rest of their lives in prison.¨

 Questions

After the speeches, the questions of the press members:

Turkey's single will is to resist Israel

Upon the question of a press member related to the recent revelation of some secrets of Turkish government by audio surveillance as ¨What does IHH think related to these incidents that target the government on 17th December and 25th December periods?¨, Bülent Yıldırım answered ¨These incidents are neither related to the corruption nor they are personal interests of some groups. They are related directly to Israel. They are all in order to make relations with Israel as it was in the past. Mavi Marmara changed the course of the relations with Israel. Turkey's single will is to resist Israel. Israel will not give up. It will use all of its dangerous methods soon or later. They will try to start chaos in Turkey. All we have to do is resist as a whole towards Israel.¨

If Mavi Marmara case was dismissed, there are new ships to depart

Upon a question as ¨If the decision at the end of the case is not a wanted one, what can you do as IHH? Yıldırım said ¨We earned success even with the onset of these cases. The decision to arrest should have been made by now. The case cannot be dismissed. If it is dismissed, we turn it into a continuous process. If it is dismissed, Turkey will lose what it gained until now. The ones who want to go on this case will gain, but the ones who don't will lose. If this case doesn't reach a satisfactory decision, there are many new Mavi Marmara ships which are ready to depart. We only need an official document. The Mavi Marmara which was repaired is ready in the Golden Horn. The organizations in Europe bought some new ships. A new ship will depart from Gaza. If the world doesn't want any more crises, they should punish Israel in this regard. They have prolonged the hearing in Turkey. Some bureaucrats will make some agreements with Israel and they think that they will not be able to do it if the case ends. The next hearing is on 26th May. We are making preparations for 26th May. We will walk to Israeli Consulate on 31st May. We call all activists. This community can fill the public squares to demonstrate against the violations. We will show this to Israel.¨

¨Gaza’s Ark will depart from Gaza as the Noah's Ship¨

Upon a question related to the information that Gaza's Ark humanitarian aid ship which has been restrained in Gaza for some time will depart from Gaza in June, Yıldırım said ¨We don't represent a state here. We try to fulfill our responsibilities individually. We will send a ship to the abroad from Gaza. We will fulfill our individual responsibility. This flotilla organization has been made mostly by Canadians. The old ship was repaired in a way that it will look like the Noah's ship. 15 people and the goods produced in Gaza will be in the ship. It actually looks like the ship which reached Gaza for the first time in 2008."

For more information you can look the website;  www.gazaark.org

Click to see the report about legal actions taken against the Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

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