Initial conclusions from questioning passengers and examining equipment on board the ship
1. An initial analysis of statements taken from passengers aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara after it was towed to the port of Ashdod show that operatives belonging to the radical Islamic Turkish IHH led the violent confrontation with the IDF.
2. The statements confirmed that the violence met by the IDF soldiers was not spontaneous but rather an organized, premeditated action carried out by a hard core of 40 IHH operatives (among the 500 passengers). The operatives, who acted according to a clearly-defined internal hierarchy, boarded the ship in the port of Istanbul without undergoing a security inspection (as opposed to the other passengers, who boarded in Antalya after a full inspection).
3. The IHH operatives’ preparations included handing out walkie-talkies as they boarded the ship, taking over the upper deck, setting up a situation room for communications, and a briefing given to the operatives two hours before the confrontation by IHH head Bülent Yildirim, who was on board the ship and commanded his men. IHH operatives wore ceramic vests and gas masks, and were armed with large quantities of cold weapons which they had prepared from equipment found on board (knives, axes, metal cables, metal pipes used as clubs, wrenches, etc.). They were also equipped with box cutters which had been prepared on the upper deck in advance.
4. The passengers, including the IHH operatives, stated that there were close relations between the organization and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and that the Turkish government was involved in preparations for the flotilla. The statements reinforce the original assassment that the objective of the flotilla was not merely to bring humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, but focused on provocation and a violent confrontation with Israel.
A flotilla "activist" raising a metal pipe to strike IDF soldiers (IDF Spokesman, June 3, 2010).
Go to the web posting for the full report.
The statement of an officer aboard the Mavi Marmara
1. The main points of a Mavi Marmara officer’s statement:
...B. The ship set sail with 29 crew members and 40 IHH operatives. The leader of the operatives’ group was Bülent Yildirim. An operative named Rajip was responsible for logistics. There was also an operative named Tonj.
C. The other passengers boarded in Antalya according to a list held by IHH and Turkish Customs. From Antalya they sailed to Cyprus where the other ships were waiting for them.
...E. When the IHH operatives boarded the ship they were given walkie-talkies to help them control the ship. Guards posted in the passageways prevented the ordinary passengers from reaching the upper decks. The movements of the crew were also limited and they needed permission from the IHH operatives to go from one place to another.
F. Instructions were given to the passengers by the IHH operatives via the ship’s closed circuit television. In addition, a kind of communications situation room was set up for IHH’s correspondents.
G. The IHH operatives used disks to saw the ship’s railing into metal rods. They also had steel rods they took from the lifeboats. After hearing the sound of the disks, the captain sent two officers to find out where it was coming from. They saw that the IHH operatives had brought disks on deck, contrary to the captain’s orders, and were using them to saw the ship’s railings into metal rods. They found three disks and confiscated them.
H. In retrospect it is obvious that the incident had been organized in advance. The officer claimed he neither sensed nor understood what was going on during the sea voyage because he kept his distance from the passengers.
For further information about IHH see the May 27, 2010 bulletin, “IHH, which plays a central role in organizing the flotilla to the Gaza Strip, is a Turkish humanitarian relief fund with a radical Islamic anti-Western orientation. Besides its legitimate philanthropic activities, it supports radical Islamic networks, including Hamas, and at least in the past, even global jihad elements”