Passengers on the Mavi Marmara
Passengers on the Mavi MarmaraIsrael news photo: Flash 90

One of the activists who had taken part in the Gaza flotilla had participated in previous terror attacks, according to a recent report in the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet.

According to the report, Erdinç Tekir, who was wounded during the fighting which occurred after the IDF raided the Mavi Marmara on May 31, participated in a terrorist attack on a Russian ferry in the Black Sea in 1996. The purpose of the attack was to bargain for the release of Chechen prisoners in Russia, and as far as is known, it was carried out by an armed group of Abkhazian/Caucasian radical Islamists, which were supported by Turkish Islamists.

Tekir recently admitted during an interview he gave to the Islamic website Dünya Bülteni, that he had participated in the terrorist attack to bargain for the release prisoners as part of his activity to promote the Chechen-Abkhazian cause, this according to a report published by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.

During the same interview, Tekir said that he had been an IHH volunteer for about ten years, and that he had been introduced to the organization by friends after his release from a Turkish prison. However, he said he became close to the organization when he participated in hijacking the ferry. Tekir also said that he “struggled hard” to become a passenger on the Mavi Marmara because he wanted to make a contribution. He falsely claimed that the ship was not carrying terrorists but volunteers and activists, and that the IDF soldiers boarded the ship from the sea and air while shooting live ammunition.

The IDF raided the Mavi Marmara on May 31, after it had attempted to break a naval blockade being imposed on the Gaza Strip, claiming it was bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza. As the IDF commandos descended onto the deck of the ship by rope, they were assaulted by the activisits on the ship who were using metal clubs and knives. The activists snatched two pistols from the commandos and at them with them. Nine people were killed in the raid, most of them from Turkey, where the radical IHH group organized the flotilla.

It was later determined that there were no humanitarian supplies on the Marmara.

The report on Tekir is the first proof of the presence of a Turk with a terrorist past among the IHH operatives on board the Mavi Marmara. While there is no information indicating that the IHH was involved in the hijacking of the Russian ferry in 1996, Tekir admitted to the Islamic website that he became closer to IHH while he was active in the Abkhazian-Chechen cause.

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center added that its examination has shown that Tekir’s name appears on the list of names of those wounded on the Mavi Marmara, and also on the list of the hijackers of the Avrasya (the Russian ferry), a list appearing in a Wikipedia article on the attack.