Thousands of people came to the historic Fatih mosque in Istanbul yesterday to pay their final respects to the victims, whose bodies were brought to the mosque for a funeral prayer following an autopsy at the Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK).
The bodies were brought into the mosque courtyard while verses of the Quran were recited. The crowd then shouted slogans, including “Damn Israel” and “Murderer Israel-Accomplice US,” following which the funeral prayer was said.
The funeral was also attended by Energy Minister Taner Yıldız, İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, Felicity Party (SP) leader Numan Kurtulmuş and Bülent yıldırım, chairman of the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH), the aid agency that organized the Turkey arm of the international campaign to send the aid ships to the impoverished Gaza Strip.
One-year-old Türker Kaan Çetin, the youngest of the hundreds of passengers on the convoy, and his mother were also among those present.
Among the slain volunteers was 19-year-old Furkan Doğan, a Turkish-American citizen who settled in the central province of Kayseri a couple of years ago after returning from the US with his family. According to the ATK, Doğan was shot in the head four times at close range. Kayseri residents prepared a memorial book for him in which people could express their feelings stemming from the loss of the high school student at the hands of Israeli commandos. The book will then be delivered to his parents, who said their son had taken the university entrance exam only a few weeks ago and was dreaming of becoming a doctor one day.
Israeli naval forces stormed an aid convoy of six vessels en route to Gaza in international waters early Monday morning, killing nine civilians onboard the largest of the three Turkish ships in the convoy, the Mavi Marmara. The aggression led to strong condemnations from around the world and from international organizations such as the UN, NATO and the European Union.
A funeral ceremony was held at the Fatih Mosque for the nine victims of the Israeli assault on a humanitarian aid ship that was bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip.
The other eight victims are Cevdet Kılıçlar (38), Necdet Yıldırım (32), İbrahim Bilgen (61), Ali Heyder Bengi (39), Cengiz Akyüz (41), Cengiz Topçuoğlu (54), Cengiz Songür (47) and Fahri Gündüz (43). Of them, six will be taken to their hometowns, where they will be buried according to their families’ wishes. Yıldırım was buried in İstanbul’s Edirnekapı Martyrs’ Cemetery while Kılıçlar will also be buried there following a funeral prayer at the city’s Beyazıt Mosque.