Flotilla victims ‘shot’ from Israeli chopper, Turkish report shows

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Family members mourn the death of Cevdet Kılıçlar, a journalist who was killed during the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara. DHA photo
Family members mourn the death of Cevdet Kılıçlar, a journalist who was killed during the Israeli raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara. DHA photo

Several of the victims of the Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla were shot in the head from above, presumably from a helicopter, according to the forensics report released Monday by a human rights group.

Some of the bodies were found to have wounds consistent with a bullet entering through the head from a high angle, the report said, adding that automatic or semi-automatic weapons were likely used to kill the nine people who died onboard the Mavi Marmara.

Since all the corpses had been washed before being examined by authorities, no gunpowder traces were found on the bodies, making it impossible to reach a definite conclusion about the range from which they were shot. High amounts of ethanol and methanol were detected on the corpses, however, due to what was thought to be an attempt to keep them from smelling. The wet and dirty clothes the victims were wearing made it difficult to determine whether they had been clothed in these garments at the time of their death.

Eight Turks and one U.S. citizen of Turkish descent were killed May 31 aboard the Mavi Marmara, which was part of a flotilla of ships attempting to bring humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip despite Israel’s blockade of the area. The report released by the Istanbul-based Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed People, or Mazlum-Der, described the deaths of some of the victims.

Furkan Doğan, 19, was shot from close range by five bullets, while Fahri Yıldız died as a result of internal bleeding. Cengiz Akyüz was shot in the forehead and died as a result of a skull fracture. One bullet entered Çetin Topçuoğlu’s skull and exited from the back of his neck, while another bullet that hit him in the right shoulder destroyed his lungs.

According to the report released by Mazlum-Der, Israeli soldiers opened a file and took DNA samples from the nine bodies.

The Mavi Marmara set out from the Turkish Mediterranean city of Antalya on May 28 as part of a flotilla of ships carrying more than 500 people from different countries. Israeli soldiers raided the ship when it was 65 kilometers off the Gaza coast, causing the nine deaths and striking a serious blow to Turkish-Israeli relations.