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Journalist aboard aid convoy: The vessel was a lake of blood
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Elif Akkuş, a reporter from the state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) who was aboard the Mavi Marmara when it was raided by Israeli commandoes, has described the aftermath of the attack by saying the vessel turned into a lake of blood.

“We thought they would come and intercept the ship, but when they raided the ship around 4:30 a.m., chaos broke out.

Helicopters were above us and bullets flew everywhere. Those were very difficult moments. Blood was everywhere,” Akkuş said in televised remarks after her arrival in İstanbul.

She said Israeli officials seized all her belongings, but that journalists managed to record the raid. “Being a journalist there meant nothing to them. The only thing I have now is my passport. We knew that we would encounter something extraordinary, but we did not expect this,” she said.

Many Turkish journalists were onboard when the ship was attacked, including Today’s Zaman photojournalist Kürşat Bayhan, Taraf daily reporter Ayşe Sarıoğlu, Yeni Şafak daily reporter Murat Palavar, TVNET’s foreign news desk chief Sümeyye Ertekin, producer Ümit Sönmez and cameraman Ersin Esen.

Anatolia news agency reporter Yücel Velioğlu said the soldiers used real bullets. Noting that nearly 10 Turkish journalists on the ship had gathered in a room on the second floor of the vessel, he said they waited there for two hours with their hands on their heads. Velioğlu said officials from the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH), one of the organizers of the convoy of six aid vessels bound for the Gaza Strip, announced around 5:30 a.m. that there were many injured passengers and urged them to surrender. He says the soldiers pointed guns at them even though they were crouching before being detained.

Velioğlu also confirms the accounts of other peace activists who say Israeli officials forced them to sign a document stating, “I accept that I entered

Israel illegally and would like to be deported.”

Noting that they were put in cells in groups of two or four at a Beersheba prison, he said the soldiers sometimes used force.

Erhan Sevenler, a photojournalist, explains that for his birthday this year, June 2, he was under arrest. “I was arrested on my birthday and my release was the best birthday present ever for me,” he said.

Sevenler said the soldiers made them sign a deportation document and asked them during interrogation whether they had known what they did was illegal. The soldiers searched them meticulously, he added. “We were then transferred to the cells. We tried to eat what they gave us and kept our morale high,” he said.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders says at least 60 journalists were accompanying the humanitarian aid flotilla headed to Gaza.

Source >  Todays Zaman

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