Turkish vessel 'Mavi Marmara'.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Activists from Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) prayed in front of the Israeli ambassador to Ankara's house on Sunday morning to mark five years since the IDF's raid on the Mavi Marmara flotilla ship which was attempting to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli commandos raided the ship while it was en route to Gaza on May 31, 2010, killing nine people aboard the vessel. Israel contends that the soldiers acted in self defense after being attacked by the members of the IHH, which Jerusalem and several western countries designate as a terrorist organization. The group claimed to be bringing medical supplies to Gaza, while Israel said the flotilla was a provocation intended to instigate a violent event.
The incident sparked a break in diplomatic relations between Israel and Turkey as well as attempts by Ankara to try Israeli soldiers and officials for war crimes.
According to Turkish daily Hurriyet
, members of the IHH from the city of Konya held morning prayers outside of the Israeli ambassador's house.
The group was scheduled to travel to Istanbul to take part in the "Free Jerusalem March" on Sunday evening, according to Hurriyet
The anniversary was also marked in an event organized by the IHH in Gaza on Saturday night.
"The blood of the martyrs of Mavi Marmara
will not go in vain," Mehmet Kaya, the IHH representative in Gaza was quoted as saying by Turkey's Anadolu news Agency.
An additional event, organized by Gaza aid organization Miles of Smiles, was held by activists in Gaza City on Sunday.
According to Ma'an News Agency the activists displayed photos of those killed in the flotilla raid, before sailing a short distance off the coast where they threw roses in the water.
Ma'an quoted Miles of Smiles spokesperson Ali al-Nazli as saying the commemoration was part of efforts to end Israel's blockade of Gaza. "We are here to say to Marmara martyrs we won’t forget you…and history won’t forget you."
Freedom Flotilla activists are currently planning an additional flotilla to protest the blockade. A ship called the Marianne, which is set to lead the flotilla, arrived in Spain on Saturday after having set sail from Sweden earlier this month.