Civil society organizations across Turkey have denounced Israel in the strongest possible terms with protests and statements following the killings of at least nine defenseless peace activists at the hands of Israeli naval commandos on an aid flotilla in international waters.
Many of the organizations called on the international community to ask Israel to account for the bloody incident and to stop Israeli violence in the war-stricken Gaza Strip.
“An attack on the humanitarian aid convoy has brought us a responsibility. Freedom of the press has been disregarded. We are face-to-face with an Israel that cannot event meet the needs of the detainees,” Civil Servants’ Trade Union (Memur-Sen) President Ahmet Gündoğdu said yesterday at a press conference in Ankara.
Gündoğdu said they will demand the elimination of all kinds of embargos on Palestine and call on the world to recognize the Palestinian state and place an embargo on Israel. “All sanctions must be applied to Israel, especially economic embargos.” He also added that the same consideration must continue to be given to the issue after the activists return to Turkey.
In a protest by Confederation of Revolutionary Workers’ Unions (DİSK) members in İstanbul, spokesperson Veysel Demir said the attack by Israeli commandos will be remembered as an action resembling the piracy of the Middle Ages.
Nongovernmental organizations that gathered in Antalya’s Demre district also lashed out at Israel. “The attack has been carried out against humanity. There is no difference between Somali pirates and Israeli soldiers. It is not enough just to condemn and curse Israel; we should boycott Israel. We ask the authorities to remove all agreements with Israel. No agreements with a terrorist state is more valuable than humanity or one drop of our Muslim siblings’ blood,” the group’s spokesperson Ali Kıtır, who is also an Education Personnel Labor Union (Eğitim Bir-Sen) member, said.
In a written statement yesterday, Confederation of the Civil Society Organizations of the Black Sea Region (KASTOB) President Hasan Ekşi said Israel continues to show signs of state terrorism and ignores the norms of international law. “As representatives of civil society organizations, we call on all institutions, primarily the United Nations, to enforce deterrents and legal sanctions on this government, which consciously and constantly commits crimes against humanity. The opposite is to become a partner in crime. History will not forget this black mark and those who allow it,” the statement read.
Civil society organizations in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri said Israel must be called to account for its actions and they strongly condemned the country. Speaking to the Cihan news agency, a representative of the Confederation of Turkish Real Trade Unions’ (Hak-İş) in Kayseri said all ties with Israel must be suspended. Turkish Red Crescent Society Kayseri branch head Ayhan Uzundaç told the news agency that the Israeli attack had left a deep wound in humanity’s collective conscience.
Speaking on behalf of 63 civil society organizations in the eastern province of Adıyaman, spokesperson Zeki Dişkaya said at a press conference that they decried the bloody Israeli attack.
A large protest will be held in Ankara in which civil society organizations from Ankara and 35 others from outside the province will participate on Sunday, while another protest will take place in the Black Sea province of Ordu on Saturday.