Father of flotilla victim accompanies Erdoğan on US visit

May 15, 2013, Wednesday/ 16:42:00

The father of Furkan Doğan, a 19-year-old Turkish-American peace activist who was killed during a raid on the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla by Israeli naval forces, is accompanying Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit to US.

Ahmet Doğan, who asked Erdoğan to deliver a letter to US President Barack Obama, joined Erdoğan's delegation upon a request by the Turkish prime minister.

Doğan said Erdoğan told him: “I can give this letter [to him], but it is better if you give the letter to him yourself. I will include you among the members of the official delegation.” Doğan also said the prime minister told him he should meet with Obama if they can arrange an appointment with him. The victim's father said he described Furkan and wrote about his son's life in the letter.

Furkan Doğan and eight Turkish activists were killed when Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010 when it was on a mission to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza Strip, which is under Israeli naval blockade.

On Tuesday, lawyers representing victims of the Mavi Marmara flotilla, Ramazan Arıtürk and Cihat Gökdemir, sued Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on behalf of the Union of Comoros, the nation whose flag was flown by the Turkish-owned ship at the time of the raid. The lawyers filed the complaint against Israel at The Hague after getting authorization from the Union of Comoros to do so on its behalf.

The families of the victims are also pursuing criminal cases against the Israeli commandos involved in the raid, although Israel wants the lawsuits against its soldiers to be dropped as part of an agreement on compensation for the victims.

At a press conference on Wednesday, lawyers representing the victims told reporters that Doğan's letter aimed to urge American authorities to file a complaint against the Israeli soldiers. Speaking to Today's Zaman by phone, Arıtürk said the US officials had been slow to start a legal process to address Furkan Doğan's death.

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