Nineteen-year-old Doğan, an American citizen who settled in Kayseri a couple of years ago after returning from the US with his family, was among nine volunteers who were killed at the hands of Israeli commandos on an aid flotilla in international waters in May. The convoy arrived in Kayseri on Thursday and proceeded to Doğan’s grave early in the morning.
Doğan ‘s elder brother and grandfather welcomed the visitors before they headed to his grave. The activists shook hands with them and chatted a little. They offered their condolences to Doğan family.
Speaking at the graveside, activist Mousa Taher said Doğan was killed but that he did not die and was among them. Recalling Surah al Bakara from the Quran, which says the martyrs should not be called dead, Taher said Doğan became a person who can be considered a role model. Another activist, Carole Swords, said Doğan will never have a son or grandson but she will keep him alive naming her sons and grandsons after him. Swords added that the struggle for to free Palestine must continue.
Activist Muhammet Zin Kandar, who said he joined the convoy in the name of Malaysian Muslims, noted that they felt great sorrow for the murdered activists.
The group accompanied by Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH) officials and representatives from several civil society organizations also prayed for Doğan at his graveside. The activists were also joined by İHH volunteer Abdulhamit Bayırbaş.
Speaking before the prayer, Doğan ‘s elder brother Mustafa Doğan recalled that the convoy included non-Muslims, too, saying: “This is not a war of religions. There [in Palestine] a crime against humanity is being committed.”
The activists later visited a cultural house named after Doğan in the Reşadiye neighborhood of Talas.
After the visits, the convoy headed to the southern province of Adana.
The convoy is reportedly carrying humanitarian aid including medical equipment to Gaza. They will enter Syria after passing through Adana, Gaziantep and Kilis, and head to Egypt after joining other aid convoys from the Middle East.