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Jul-12-2010 19:16printcomments

Meet the Dead of the Mavi Marmara

Meen erhabi? - Who's the terrorist?

Israel's Flotilla shooting gallery
Image courtesy:

(SALEM, Ore.) - The events leading up to Israel's illegal high seas attack on the ship Mavi Marmara, part of a Freedom Flotilla trying to break the military siege of Gaza, are both tragic and incredible.

That notion that a military force can attack a civilian ship with deadly weapons, kill several while carrying assassin 'hit lists', and then turn around and play the victim, might be the biggest stretch in Israel's history, and that is saying something.

Israel has stated repeatedly that the people aboard the Mavi Marmara were militants, when in fact they were peace activists and humanitarians.

We have shown video of the moments leading up to the deadly attack; one thing that shoots any of Israel's spins right off the reel, is the fact that the Israeli Defense Forces fired deadly rounds and killed people aboard the Mavi Marmara long before the vessel was overtaken by soldiers who rappelled down to the ship from military assault helicopters.

Tall Tales

If you believe Israel, this ship, with a very sensitive and controversial desire to reach the people of Gaza who lived behind walls like the ones that once divided Berlin, was 'dangerous' and a 'security threat' when in fact, nobody on the vessels desired to go to Israel, only Gaza, which is Palestine, not Israel.

Their only desire was to help usher in help for people who are beyond beleaguered; more than terrorized by the Israeli government's weapons, to the point that they are treated like animals in a cage, a fate they are not deserving of.

Israel would have the world believe that these people were allied with Hamas when there is no evidence of that, and even if they were a friend of the devil himself, no nation had a right to attack them on the high seas in international waters. Besides, Hamas runs Gaza and so what if they were involved, I see no problem with it. Hamas halted suicide bombing in 2005, they deserve a voice in this fight.

Once they were disarmed, the Israeli
soldiers were evaluated and medically treated.

Israeli 'commando' being treated on the Mavi
Marmara was a threat, but was not threatened.

The people aboard the Mavi Marmara who were killed, were in many cases, targeted. This information comes from a list taken off a captured Israeli 'commando' who was disarmed after illegally boarding the ship.

If there was any truth to the notion that the Mavi Marmara crew had harming Israel in mind, then the Israeli soldiers captured and disarmed would have been harmed or killed. Instead, medical teams aboard the Mavi Marmara treated the Israeli soldier's wounds.

Ken O'Keefe, a former U.S. Marine aboard the Mavi Marmara, knows the score. He is an American combat veteran from the first Gulf War. He emphasized the point above; they had every opportunity to harm Israelis; commandos who had just killed nine of their friends in cold blood, unarmed, and they still didn't hurt the soldiers.

So let's meet the people who were killed that day; my type of introduction is very one-sided of course since the lives of these individuals were all snuffed out by Israel 31 May 2010:

Cetin Topkoogelo

Cetin Topkoogelo, a 54-year old former Taekwondo champion who worked as a coach for the Turkish national team, was shot three times by the Israeli Defence Force 'commandos' who raided the Mavi Marmara. He was shot once in the back of his head, once in his hip and once in his belly.

Underscoring the tragedy of this highly accomplished man's loss, is the fact that he died as his wife tried to save him.

Mavi Marmara survivors Kevin Neish and Ken O'Keefe, both recalled during interviews how Arab Knesset Member Haan Zoabi repeatedly asked the Israeli's who took control of the vessel to take their wounded and transport the ones who could be saved.

The answer from the IDF soldiers was to train their weapons at Zoabi and say, "take another shot and we will shoot you in the head." Efforts to save Cetin Topkoogelo and others who died were all unsuccessful.

Vahri Yildiz

43-year old Vahri Yildiz was a fireman who worked in the town of Adiyaman. Married and father of four children, he was one of the many people who cared enough about the people of Gaza to take time off, far more than he anticipated as it turns out, and be a part of the Freedom Flotilla.

Israel's answer for him? Vahri was hit by five bullets, among them a fatal one in the chest.

Bear in mind that Israel has stated publicly that they used rubber bullets. First, rubber bullets are made of metal, surrounded by rubber.

They have the power of a regular bullet, especially when fired at close range.

I don't believe Israel's military would have sent soldiers on a mission to kill peace activists with rubber bullets. It is not to say that they didn't have some weapons with these rounds, but the ones that killed the Mavi Marmara crew and passengers, like Vahri Yildiz, were killed with standard Israeli military bullets.

Farrakhan Dogan - American

One person many were almost instantly familiar with, was an American resident aboard the Mavi Marmara; 19-year old Farrakhan Dogan, a student in secondary School who had hoped and trained and planned to become a doctor.

This was a young man that was well liked by others aboard the Mavi Marmara; they appreciated his depth for such a young man, and knew he sincerely cared about the people of the Gaza Strip.

Farrakhan's father is Doctor Ahmed Dogan, an Assistant Professor at the University of Irkiis; the young man was following his father's footsteps, that is what he meant to do. He is one of the people slaughtered by the Israeli military while working as an unarmed peace activist. Farrakhan held dual citizenship, both Turkish and American, and has two brothers.

Israeli military that overtook and illegally boarded the Mavi Marmara, shot this teenager five times – from close range, in the right side of his nose, in the back of the head, in the back and twice in the left leg.

Cengiz Okez

41-year old Cengiz Okez was from Iskenderun, he was married, and the father of three children who were fourteen, twelve and nine years old. Cengiz is pictured here with his youngest daughter.

Like many people murdered that fateful night, Cengiz was a volunteer who chose to dedicate his time toward helping and saving the people of Gaza, who have been living in rubble since Israel's attack in 2008 and 2009 called "Operation Cast Lead" which was extremely successful, in terms of casting lead.

Over 1400 mostly civilians in Gaza were killed as a result of the attack. Israel specifically targeted homes, educational facilities, including a United Nations School, and hospitals and medical facilities. Israel has allowed minimal construction supplies in since the attack.

Israel's treatment of this man? Four gunshot wounds: back of head, right side of face, back, left leg.

Cengiz Sunqur

47-year old Cengiz Sunqur was from the city of Izmir. A married father of seven children; he is another one of the activists who chose to take part in the volunteer effort to aid the people of Gaza.

On the Website American for a free Palestine, a woman named Pam wrote: "There are no words to adequately offer consolation to your wife and children. I only hope that the international community will insist that justice is served, that you and your comrades do not die in vain."

Another comment from a person named Marianne, speaks to the damage that Israeli politics invoke. She offered these words to Cengiz: "The courage of these men and the pain of their dreadful but heroic deaths - such a loss. The inhumanity of the Israeli soldiers and the Israeli government is not to be believed, were it not visible every day, every single day, in Palestine, and everywhere supporters of Israel try to defend the indefensible. My heart aches for the families of these good men. Would that we could all so brave. Free Palestine!"

Cengiz Sunqur was killed by Israeli commandos aboard the Mavi Marnara. He died from one gunshot wound to the front of neck.

Necdet Yidirim

An aid worker in the humanitarian relief organization (IHH) of the city of Malatya, Necdet Yidirim was married and also was the father of a little girl aged three years.

A comment about Necdet reads: "It is obvious from your choice of career that you were a man of integrity and compassion. You should never have had to pay for those ideals with your life. We are so sad to see, once again, the terrible pain and suffering exacted on families because of the Occupation."

The integrity of anyone who is willing to risk their life for the benefit of others is large. Of course Necdet like many people aboard the Mavi Marmara, like Cinematographer Iara Lee, say they expected a problem from Israel, but not in the form of a deadly attack in international water.

Israel's reaction to the presence of Necdet Yidirim on the Mavi Marmara that night? He was shot to death. The autopsy revealed two gunshot wounds; one to the right shoulder and one to the left back.

Kovdit Kililar

Kovdit Kililar, the 38-year old Web editor of the charity: The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief or IHH was married and father of two children.

IHH is a Turkish non governmental humanitarian relief organization active in more than 100 countries, that has existed since 1992. They do a lot of good work and other than in this particular case involving Israel, highly regarded. Israel has tried very hard to tie the work of the IHH to jihadists, but there is no evidence of it. Their goal in this mission was the same as the others; they were trying to break the siege of Gaza to deliver humanitarian relief.

Israeli soldiers who illegally boarded the Mavi Marmara attacked Kovdit Kililar. He was killed by a single bullet that hit him between the eyebrows as he raised his camera to photograph the commandos landing on the Mavi Marmara. This aspect of the story is particularly infuriating for those of us who work in dangerous areas as media with the understanding we won't be killed for performing our jobs.

Ali Heyder Bengi

29-year old Ali Heyder Bengi of Diyarbakir, was a graduate of Al-Azhar University in Cairo's Department of Arabic literature. He was married and the proud father of four children.

A comment left in his regard, states: "I cried all the way through these pictures. What fine looking human beings. What a noble ideal they were all murdered for : caring for fellow human beings in " the world's largest ever outdoor concentration camp.

"Shame shame shame on the silent governments of the world who say little or nothing about this crime against humanity by the Zionazi Entity : the Racist Jewish Nation - homeland for the Jews. Shame !"

Ali Heyder Bengi was shot six times, including once in the abdomen. Six times. Pam from Americans for a Free Palestine wrote: "Six times--how incredibly cowardly and dispicable. How can the world argue that this hero and his comrades were anything but murdered. I am so sorry for your family who will deeply miss this courageous man with such a gentle face."

Ibrahim Bilgen

Ibrahim Bilgen was a distinguished A 61-year old Turkish politician, engineer and activist who was married with six children.

A comment left online with his photograph reads: "Few politicians take such courageous risks as you did. Such a loss to your country and people, but most of all to your family. There is no excuse or lie that can explain this kind of carnage visited upon unarmed people delivering humanitarian aid."

Israel didn't allow this man's life and spirit to continue after that fateful night on the Mavi Marmara. Ibrahim Bilgen was shot once in the right temple, once in the right side of his chest, once in the back and once in the hip. Doctors performing an autopsy on Ibrahim found something of interest; the discovery of a tiny bag containing pellets, still intact in his brain, which the report said was fired from a hunting rifle.

So much for the rubber bullet theory. The Israelis don't even necessarily use accepted standard military weapons. Like their one sided politics, everything about Israel is a basic free-for-all.

In regard to defending its public relations image over this deadly military debacle, the Israeli government hired musicians to rewrite the song "We are the World" - created by Michael Jackson and dozens of top performers in the 1980's, in the form of a parody.

The video and song mimicked the people you see here; fathers of little children murdered by the Netanyahu government under utterly criminal circumstances.

Netanyahu, who heads a government responsible for killing Palestinians every day and behaving in ways very similar to the Nazi's of the 1930's and 1940's. That song was horrible and badly written and defiled humanity all by itself. Somehow I doubt Israel needs new tools for pulling off that job.

To see the images and leave your own comments, visit freegazaorg's photostream


Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 covering the war in Afghanistan, and he was in Iraq over the summer of 2008, reporting from the war while embedded with both the U.S. Army and the Marines.

Tim holds numerous awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing, including the Oregon AP Award for Spot News Photographer of the Year (2004), first place Electronic Media Award in Spot News, Las Vegas, (1998), Oregon AP Cooperation Award (1991); and several others including the 2005 Red Cross Good Neighborhood Award for reporting. Tim has several years of experience in network affiliate news TV stations, having worked as a reporter and photographer at NBC, ABC and FOX stations in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. Serving the community in very real terms, is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website. As News Editor, Tim among other things, is responsible for publishing the original content of 65 writers. He reminds viewers that emails are easily missed and urges those trying to reach him, to please send a second email if the first goes unanswered. You can send Tim an email at this address:

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Michael September 16, 2011 4:38 am (Pacific time)

Poor story,poor journalism.Very one sided,facts are distorted.The "poor souls" described were actually "wild extrimist animals" (the UN report lately proved that).No israeli soldier fires 4 times unless his life is in danger.

Editor: You are a sad pathetic dog of a liar.  

Dan August 10, 2010 4:02 am (Pacific time)

There are 9 less moronic jihadis in the world.

Tim King: Purely the words of an ignorant coward, and an evil SOB.

Osotan; July 19, 2010 10:07 am (Pacific time)

thanks Tim and staff. They were unarmed and in international waters and the powers that be have both thumbs up their asses.,but reacts "furiously" to b.p.'s oil disaster? Who hired thes gangsters?

Lonni the GLUT July 14, 2010 6:20 pm (Pacific time)

My prayers are that Israel is wiped out by those who defeat the embargo. My sources say that in the states they also know who their enemies are, as though that was not a given. May the white trash of the GOP also be prosecuted soon even though the President is doing what he can, it is hard to fight white racist scumbags.

Editor: Easy there, you really don't have a grip, things don't come out the way you mean them, do they?

Anonymous July 13, 2010 7:50 pm (Pacific time)

anon from first post. anon from last post, here is a video for you, its short so I dont think your attention span will go into overload. I will be posting this video everywhere. This video comes from a soldier, speaking the truth. Thanks again Tim. and
grrr..just noticed I had the "and" in my link so it may not work here, go to youtube, and type in the search bar "even the troops are waking up"..
Also, Nahida, the link you sent interests me much. I do much research and did not know about this. If Salem-news allows posters giving out email addresses, please drop me a note at ''

Editor: Thanks-

Anonymous July 13, 2010 6:15 pm (Pacific time)

If the curent ship does not turn around there will be more pictures of the dead. These idiots are no different than the suicide bombers. What an absurd ideology to be involved with. Darwin must have notes on these morons somewhere in his notes.

Editor: You're truly one of the most spineless types aren't you?  Humanity is absurd?  I've heard it all now.  There are no suicide bombers you heartless weasel genocide supporting anti-human Nazi scumbag.  But then you would have to recognize history and fact wouldn't you?  I hate the fact that monsters like you are out there on two legs, but it shows why the fight is on doesn't it?  Personally I am saddened sometimes by the fact that these people aren't willing to raise a finger to defend themselves from the Israeli occupational forces.  These activists are far more important than you ever will be, remember that.  Know when you wonder why people hate you and dislike you so much, that you can read this and understand why.    

Josh Akers July 13, 2010 10:31 am (Pacific time)

At least the dead can know peace because, old Marines, and a few more, good, fearless, patriotic people will never rest If I died in the Flotilla, I would die easier, to know people like 'us' exist to spit truth with 2 open eyes. Any man who dies for true freedom is an American in his heart. A true American. Not a selfish pig like the 'Americans' our so called countrymen have become. I could go on... maybe I should write an essay...

dc July 13, 2010 9:30 am (Pacific time)

Thank You, Tim. Good work.

robertsgt40 July 13, 2010 9:29 am (Pacific time)

Interesting side note about the Mavi Marmara. If you look at a picture of the ship, it's name is painted in 6ft. letters. If you look at the "official" Israeli video, you'll note the name is missing. Guess what, they staged the "official" version. Wanna guess what happens to all the relief supplies? Thet ain't goin to Gaza.

Kelli July 13, 2010 9:16 am (Pacific time)

There should be a thousand comments on this thanking you Tim and praising the efforts of the aid flotilla. Free Palestine!!

gp July 13, 2010 8:41 am (Pacific time)

Thank you for these photos and bios, finally I was able to see these men's faces. I was so distressed that they had remained unknown for so long. When I looked at their faces, I could see them as brothers, nearly all of them fathers of children who are now bereft of their love. I send love to all of the wives and children with the hope that all of them will follow in the footsteps of their good sons/husbands/fathers who were working for peace and justice. The families must not let the murders cloud their ability to forgive. Unlike the perpetrators, they can learn from their own sorrow that the only way to be truly human is to follow the path of peace. I hope that there will be other good men in their communities who will help these families to overcome bitterness and continue the work. What a hard, but not impossible task.

alfonso July 13, 2010 7:29 am (Pacific time)

God bless them all. I wonder who the evil empire really is?

nahida July 13, 2010 6:49 am (Pacific time)

Gaza: Watch and Weep the Lost Humanity

Joey Tavares July 13, 2010 6:18 am (Pacific time)

Thank you. This is the first instance of the humans behind the headlines for me. Too few reports. Too many lives lost. We are in your debt, Tim. Thanks, eh?

Tim King: Joey, thanks!

Anonymous July 12, 2010 8:56 pm (Pacific time)

I am going to start a money bomb to buy Tim King a kevlar vest. Tim King is putting his life on the line, his monetary status, etc. From this article, I consider Tim to be what a Marine of the Armed forces should be. You got balls Mr. King. As a fellow veteran, I salute you. I will pass this article along..great job Tim..

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