Turks scream “Death to Israel” at Mavi Marmara ceremony
Thousands of people crowded into a port area on Istanbul’s European side Sunday to welcome the aid ship Mavi Marmara, scene of a deadly clash off the Gaza coast in May. Volunteers from the Islamic charity IHH (Humanitarian Relief Foundation) directed the crowd past huge posters of the eight Turks and one Turkish-American who died in the violence.
Chants of “Israel be damned!” rang out from the crowd as the ship was eased into dock. The anti-Israel sentiment threatened to undo tentative diplomatic efforts to restore Turkish-Israeli ties, which plummeted following the May 31 fatalities.
Israel’s Channel 10 had a video report from Turkey where the reporter said that the protesters called out “Death to Israel” at the prompting of the speakers. The organizaers gave out buttons saying “Damn Israel” in Turkish, and some even had anti-Israel signs in Hebrew.