IHH (Turkish NGO) - IHH and The 2010 Gaza Flotilla Raid

IHH and The 2010 Gaza Flotilla Raid

In January 2010, the Free Gaza Movement and İHH announced a joint venture to send ten vessels to the Gaza strip in the spring of 2010, a flotilla to be further joined by organizations from Greece, Ireland and Sweden.

On May 30, 2010, a flotilla of six ships carrying 663 activists from 37 nations rendezvoused near Cyprus and set sail for Gaza. The stated intention of the Gaza flotilla, like for earlier flotillas organized by the Free Gaza Movement, was to break through Israel's blockade of the Gaza strip and to deliver humanitarian supplies. The İHH spent more than $2 million on the ships. İHH activists were set apart from other activists involved in the mission by a willingness to resist Israeli forces.

On May 31, 2010, after the IHH refused that the IDF will check the ship's cargo in Ashdod port, Israeli forces intercepted the fleet in the international waters. On the MV Mavi Marmara, one of the ships owned and operated by the İHH, clashes broke out. In the clashes, nine activists were killed (Eight Turkish nationals and a Turkish-American), and dozens of activists and seven Israeli commandos were wounded. On three other ships, activists showed passive resistance, which was suppressed by Israeli forces without deaths or injuries, and two others were taken without incident. The activists were subsequently arrested and detained in Israel before being deported. Widespread international condemnation of the raid followed, Israel-Turkey relations were strained, Israel subsequently eased its blockade of the Gaza strip, and Egypt lifted its blockade, opening its Rafah Border Crossing with the Gaza Strip.

On June 18, 2010, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs released video footage of a rally on board the Mavi Marmara the day before the raid in which the İHH President Fehmi Bülent Yıldırım declared to dozens of activists: "And we say: 'If you send the commandos, we will throw you down from here to the sea and you will be humiliated in front of the whole world'", as participating passengers chant "millions of martyrs marching to Gaza!"

İHH abstained from the 2011 flotilla, citing outstanding damage to the Mavi Marmara.

In September 2011, Istanbul Deputy Public Prosecutor Ates Shasan Sozen told the Turkish daily Today's Zaman that the IHH identified and submitted a list of 174 IDF soldiers to the Prosecutor's Office.

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