Turkey marks flotilla attack anniversary

[ 31/05/2011 – 08:11 PM | PIC ]

ISTANBUL, (PIC)– Tens of thousands crowded in Istabul’s Taksim Square Monday evening to mark one year since Israel’s lethal military attack on an international aid convoy to the Gaza Strip.

The mission set out on 31 May 2010 to defy Israel’s  blockade of the Strip, but an Israeli naval force attacked leaving nine peace activists dead and many more injured. All of those killed were Turkish nationals.

Turkey’s once strong relations with Israel have badly deteriorated since the incident.

At Monday’s events, activists appeared from lands as remote as United States and Sweden as well as from Algeria, Egypt, and Jordan.

Raed Salah, the leader of the Islamic Movement in 1948-occupied Palestine, declared at the event that the gathering was aimed at liberating Gaza and Al-Aqsa Mosque, and he confirmed support of the second Gaza aid flotilla due to set sail this June. “Our objective is to liberate Palestine and that Jerusalem is its capital”.

For his part, head of the Turkish humanitarian relief fund (IHH) Bulent Yildirim confirmed that registration for the second flotilla, dubbed Freedom Flotilla II, had greater turnout than the first, as organizers received 500,000 applications to take part in the mission, while the earlier flotilla only had 600 applicants.

The wife of one of the martyrs gave an emotional speech at the event where she declared: “We can relinquish ourselves, but we never relinquish Al-Aqsa Mosque”.

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