Friday, June 4, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Here are excerpts of what some of the freed passengers had to say:
I was filming, and then he [an Israeli solider] ran after me with a stun gun.
He could not catch me. One of his colleagues hit my hand from behind with a stun gun. My camera fell down. He ran to crush the camera with his feet.
I told him, don't break my camera. If you want the tapes, I will give them to you. I told him these are media equipment. They had no limits.
They used rubber bullets. They used tear gas bombs. It was an unbelievable scene.
We were expecting the Israeli army to stop us, to prevent us from entering but surely we didn't expect such a war against us.
It was 14 ships which approached us, nearly at 4.30 in the morning. Fourteen ships that I could count and one helicopter. Maybe more than 10 soldiers, I couldn't say exactly [how many] were getting out of the helicopter.
On the second floor of the ship there were just passengers who are journalists, a nurse and organisers of the flotilla who didn't have anything in their hands.
After 20 minutes, maybe 15 minutes, there were three dead bodies.
It ended at six, when a voice from the microphone said the ship was controlled by the Israelis, 'please enter the rooms'.
This was not an act of self-defence [by the Israeli army], but rather it was completely disproportionate - although we were counting on our ship being blocked and maybe checked.
This was a very serious offence, this was a war crime.
I personally saw two and a half wooden sticks which were used [by activists].
We had not prepared in any way to fight. We didn't even consider it.
No violence, no resistance - because we knew very well that we would have absolutely no chance against soldiers like this.
I was steering the ship, we saw them [Israeli soldiers] capture another ship in front of us, which was the Turkish passenger vessel with more than 500 people on board and heard shots fired.
They wouldn't let us use the bathroom, wouldn't give us food or water and they took video of us despite international conventions banning this.
We stayed in our cabin and played games amid the sound of gunfire.
We took walks on the deck, played games with my son. The curtains were drawn, so I did not see the raid as it was happening. I only heard the voices.
I saw my husband from a distance, he looked okay. The ship personnel was not wounded, because they [the soldiers] needed them to take the ship to port.
Cetin returned to Istanbul airport with her one-year-old son.
The instructions were clear. Do not provoke, remain calm and go to meet them [the commandos] saying 'we are pacifists and not terrorists'.
Masked commandos took possession of the ship. They were aiming for the captain's cabin.
Benderbal was not on board Mavi Marmara, the lead ship of the flotilla, but on one of the other five ships. He gave this account to Europe 1 radio after arriving at a Paris airport.
Suddenly from everywhere we saw inflatables coming at us, and within seconds fully equipped commandos came up on the boat.
They came up and used plastic bullets, we had beatings, we had electric shocks, any method we can think of, they used.
Gielalis was on board the ship Sfendoni.
When we went up to the deck, they emerged from helicopters and military boats and attacked us.