The case known publicly as the Mavi Marmara Case was dismissed by the court on the 9th of December 2016, as a result of the “normalisation” agreement signed between Turkey and the Zionist entity which was put through the Turkish Parliament last summer. Before commenting on this matter, it is important to remember the development of the process before the case.
On the 31st of May 2010 at 02.00 AM, the armed forces of the so called State of Israel attacked the Freedom Flotilla consisting of eight ships that departed from different ports and aimed to break the Zionist siege of Gaza. This was done while the flotilla was in the international waters. Nine people from the Mavi Marmara Ship of the flotilla were killed. In the following period, diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Zionist entity became tense. But trade and military relations went on behind the scene.
The case, widely known as the Mavi Marmara Case, was brought before the Istanbul Assize Court against the soldiers who took part in the “operation” as well as the then-Israeli Chief of Staff Rau Gabriel Ashkenazi, naval forces commander Eliezer Alfred Maron, air force commander Avishay Levi and head of intelligence Amos Yadlin. This case against the Zionist occupiers who have not been held accountable for any of their oppression on the Palestinian People, had at least a symbolic importance, thanks to its challenge against bourgeois international law. But, Erdogan and the AKP government manipulated it towards their own benefits. Only Fettullah Gulen, who was then an “acceptable” personality for the AKP, spoke to Wall Street Journal, and showed the ignominy of supporting Israel openly.
In order to maintain the previous diplomatic relationship level with Israel, Turkey laid down three conditions: an apology to be declared from Israel through official channels, a compensation to be paid by Israel to the victims’ families, and the removal of Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Netanyahu and Erdogan apologised to each other in March 2013 as a first step. Although its content is debatable, Netanyahu apologised for Mavi Marmara, while Erdogan apologised for his words which had accused Israel being a racist state. Afterwards, it was understood that this mutual apology was the first step of a further rapprochement that will turn the relations between these two countries back to the previous level for some other reasons, and in this manner, it was for the good of Israel.
Agreement, “normalization”, the Mavi Marmara Case
Talks between the two countries, including not only a political “normalisation” but well beyond this, an alliance of Turkey and Israel, furthermore, a bargaining for an Israeli export of the natural gas reserves of Palestinians which are being stolen, to Europe over Turkey, started in June 2014 at Rome. These talks started to be called “normalisation” in the media. On the 17th of December 2015, Dore Gold and Feridun Sinirlioglu met in Rome and agreed on a draft. In the following period talks took place with increasing frequency , on the one hand, and Turkey made a gesture to Israel and deported a Hamas official, Salah Aruri on the other. On March 2016, news about residence permits problems of Hamas members dwelling in Turkey spread.
Eventually, the two sides reached a compromise. But no favourable result was obtained about the Gaza blockade which Erdogan pontificated about previously. On the contrary, the AKP and Erdogan began to propagate that all Turkey’s three conditions were satisfied. On the 26th of June 2016, the well-known agreement which maintains previous diplomatic relationship between the two countries were signed.
The agreement shown as a victory by the pro-AKP media, includes the continuation of the Gaza blockade. All the materials en route to Gaza must be brought to the port of Ashdod which is under Israeli occupation, and these materials will be delivered to Gaza if the occupier permits to do so. In order to propagate that the agreement is in favour of Palestinians, some irrelevant talks such as a promise of construction of some buildings by TOKI (Turkish collective housing authority) in Gaza were made.
But the most important results of the agreement were the engagement of Turkey to the process of exporting the stolen natural gas of Palestinians to Europe by Israel and the exemption of Israeli officers from any liability of any kind concerning the Mavi Marmara Case, as well as the sharing of intelligence between Turkish and Israeli secret services, MIT and MOSSAD.
On the other hand, Mavi Marmara lawyers claimed that the agreement should be adopted by a required minimum vote of 330 instead of 209 by the parliament, because the agreement must be regarded as an amnesty law, and for this reason, the agreement’s articles are not enough for the dismissal of the Mavi Marmara Case. But the hearings following the agreement showed that the Court was not like minded. Eventually, the tension reached its maximum in the hearing held on 2 December 2016, at the Istanbul First Assize Court. After Çigdem Topcuoglu, a member of the last Women’s Flotilla to Gaza in summer 2016 who lost her husband at the Mavi Marmara, fainted in the hearing room, the hearing was deferred to December the 9th.
The last hearing, also followed by the militants of the Revolutionary Workers’ Party (DIP) at the courthouse, started in an atmosphere in which even bracelets that have Palestine flags on were collected by the security in the courthouse, and witnessed tensions during receptions to the courtroom, and it was said that (only complainants were allowed in) this was further exasperated by the attitude of the court delegation to the Mavi Marmara Lawyers in the courtroom. After a few hours of trial, the lawyers of Mavi Marmara, who protested the attitudes of the court delegation, left the court by removing their robes. Then, the decision was read only to the lawyers of the Zionist entity and to the journalists. The case was dropped, The apprehension decision about the suspects was removed and the litigation expenses were charged to the Turkish State.
The political dimension of the case
Much has been written about the legal dimension of the case, and it will continue to be written. Topics such as the claims that this agreement is an amnesty, so it needs to be approved in parliament by 330 votes, instead of 209, or the assertion that the agreement is valid only for Turkish citizens which makes the dismissal of the case impossible, because there are complainants from other citizenships, are really worth discussing. But the process of dropping the case is completely political. We will briefly look at this side.
When one examines carefully Erdogan’s famous “one minute” rebuke and his image defending the Mavi Marmara Case, she/he will also face an increasing trade volume with the illegitimate Israel, the state which at least had to make some concessions thanks to the BDS Movement’s boycott calls. As the Revolutionary Workers’ Party, we seriously criticised this situation in that period. Increasing trade with Zionist Israel repeatedly condemned by demonstrations held by the BDS Movement in Turkey. At that time, those who tell the truth were subjected to the attacks and threats of political Islam's “journalists”. A Palestinian friend of ours was fired from his job and “Haber 7” (an Islamic web-news site) targeted another by using his photograph in an unauthorised manner. However, the disclosure of the conditions of the "normalisation" agreement also created a shock in the AKP base. The Zionist entity, once called to stop for "one minute", once called "you know how to kill”, began to be presented as a close friend and ally, and this cheeky coloniserof the Middle East was shown as a companion, who Turkey needed. The authors of AKP’s shreds were in for a great race to bottom to whitewash such a shame.
Meanwhile, Erdogan reprimanded IHH, which organised the ship of the Mavi Marmara once shown as a hero,saying “Whom did you ask for apermission in order to sail to Gaza?”. He wanted the IHH to know its limitations and to keep quiet. The IHH could hardly react to these reprimands, and just circulated a useless verbosity in the social media and on its website. IHH did not mention Erdogan’s or AKP’s name even once at its critique about the process.
However, the injustice was enormous! Even the 20 million dollars compensation shown as the only concrete gain from Israel to be paid to the victims’ families, were paid by Turkish people in an interesting manner. The illegitimate Israel has demanded a 40 million dollars past tax liability from a Turkish firm operating in Israel, and thus, solved the problem. The deal, which was supposed to be in Gaza's interest, meant the recognition of the blockadeof Gaza. Ashdod Port, which Mavi Marmara crew refused to go to in order to deny recognising Israel, became the place where Turkey took the blockade over. Most importantly, the Zionists were enabled by Turkey to transport the natural gas stolen from Palestinians, that became an elixir of life at a time of Israel’s hard set economic conditions. The Turkish companies, in particular Zorlu Holding, have entered the queue for the transit of natural gas stolen from Palestinians. With this money, the occupying army would more easily buy new weapons that it will use on Palestinians. It was clear that, after the agreement, there would also be a growing military alliance between Turkey and the illegitimate Israel. Here, the Mavi Marmara case continued in such a process.
The un-grieved Israel
Let's go back to the day of the hearing. After the hearing on Friday, a large mass of young people (presumably the majority of whom are IHH supporters) abandoned the courthouse by shouting “Allahuekber” (God is the biggest) and slogans.
It was an impressive scenefor some. In addition to "This is Turkey, not Israel!" slogan, some verses from Quran, other slogans like "cenk, cihad, şehadet” (war, jihad, martyrdom), a Hamas flag waving above the crowd at the gardenof the building ...
The most crucial slogan was “Down with Israel!”, wishing the Zionist entity to be grieved!
Did any of those people who shouted these slogans, confront the fact that Israel was not grieved, but on the contrary, became better than it was?
Yes! An Islamist party in Turkey defeats the opponent bourgeois camp and its political extensions in some way, gets over a coup attempt, gives the workers’ class hell in the country, building an oppressive regime step by step. Solidarity with Palestine is a commonplace in the mouth of its leader, who calls himself “Reis” by coveting the Middle East. But nothing has happened to Israel!
On the contrary, as AKP gets over the dangers, Turkish trade with Israel increases. Israel becomes a closer ally for Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia. The Zionist Entity will now sell the stolen natural gas with the help of AKP and the Reis, and pocket the money beatifically.
Yes! The truth is so clear: Whilst an Islamist government is gaining power in Turkey, it’s not Zionism that is being grieved, it’s Palestinians and their allies!
There are of course some Palestinians who are not being grieved. There are many who run after any funds or positions, by staying close to the AKP or the European Union. However, the Palestinian people, who continue their lives under the blockade in Gaza or between the checkpoints in the West Bank, are getting more and more grieved as Israel grows stronger. Their lives are getting harder.
The constraints of Islamists
Let's close this parenthesis and speak frankly about the Islamist organizations that claim to take up the Palestinian cause in Turkey: neither AKP nor IHH, nor other Islamist movements can break off from imperialism, from the United States, nor Israel in the real sense! They won’t do that! This was the case when we were fighting against the 6th Fleet. This is the same today! Even if some of them show a weak tendency to break, they are being corrected and taken into the line back.
The most important reason for this is that Islamic movements are bourgeois in character. They cannot contravene the interests of the Islamist wings of the ruling classes. So, the problem is a structural one. The AKP is not doing something wrong. AKP is doing what it has to, in order to protect the interests of the Islamistbourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie, organised in the institutions like MUSİAD (the Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association), wants to do business with the region, not a war with Israel. Whoever does not descend from the AKP’s ship, has to live with this reality!
However, in the present situation of the world, this problem has a conjunctural dimension. This dimension arises from the role of theIslamist organisationsin the sectarian war incited by the AKP in the Middle East. One cannot carry out a consistent struggle against Zionism, while at the same time supporting the sectarian war, even taking part in it. The Islamist bourgeoisie and the AKP want to fight the Shiites, not the Zionists. While having the same interests with Israel in Syria, one cannot be apart with Zionism in Palestine, in real terms. In order to be apart from Zionism, you need to distinguish yourself from the AKP and the Islamist bourgeoisie, who have linked arms with the Zionists, the USimperialism, and Saudi Arabia. If you do not distinguish yourself, you have to live with this reality too!
However, there is no such thing for neither IHH nor other Islamist groups, as separating themselves from the AKP. There are some organisations which don’t separate themselves from AKP, even if the AKP government shuts their television channel down. Building a principled, consistent and long-term struggle against Zionism in the Middle East is not something that political Islam can do.
The Revolutionary Workers’ Party (DIP) calls all to an uncompromising struggle against Zionism!
As the Revolutionary Workers' Party, we wrote the struggle against Zionism and imperialism, onto our flags with an indelible ink! Our interests are the same with the Palestinian workers’ waiting for hours each day at the checkpoints within the West Bank. Our interests are the same with the Palestinian women who do not even feel a slightest fear while plunging forward in order to stab their knives to the armed fanatic settlers or to an occupation soldier. Our interests are the same with the Jews who fearlessly confront the Zionist regime.
Our policies will bring the participants to Jerusalem, the capital of a united, independent, secular and socialist Palestine, where the Arabs and the Jews will live together, not to the Port of Ashdod by taking roundabout ways. Therefore, not only for the salvationof the working class of Turkey, but also for the freedom of Palestine, it is necessary to descend from the AKP's ship and board to the Revolutionary Workers’ Party’s.
Furthermore, the crew of our ship, does not betray their comrades. But no one can guarantee that those who betrayed the memories of the people who lost their lives in Mavi Marmara, will not betray those who lost their lives on July 15th, for another natural gas deal! Mark these words!