World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish activists rallied for an aid volunteer held for weeks in Israeli prison while two Turkish attorneys leaves for Israel to attend the court hearing on Thursday.
Israel soldiers arrested Izzet Sahin, who is representative and founder of IHH, Humanitarian Relief Foundation Office, in occupied West Bank and studies Hebrew in Hebrew University on 27th April when he passed through to Bethlehem Checkpoint.
Protesters from various NGOs came together under the name of Friends of Palestine Platform to stand up against Israel for holding Izzet Sahin, a Turkish national and also the West Bank representative for IHH, under arrest. Sahin’s wife and two kids also joined the protests.
The protesters marched through Istiklal Street up to Taksim Square, on Wednesday, chanting slogans and carrying banners that read “Izzet Sahin should be set free”, “Retaliation acts will not achieve their aim”, over the arrest.
IHH is among the aid groups that plan to break years of Israel siege on Gaza land through sea in May. The ship that will set off from Istanbul aims to reach Gaza via the Mediterranean Sea.
"Hostage to stop humanitarian aid"
Gulden Sonmez, Attorney, Member of IHH’s Administrative Board, together with Cihat Gokdemir, another attorney who is also Head of Mazlumder’s Istanbul Office and Zehra Ozturk, a translator, flied to Israel late Tuesday to join Izzet Sahin in his defense and to observe the situation on ground.
Sonmez said, “this kind of treatment is in no way deserved by a Turkish national. We are hoping that Sahin will be released by the court on 13th of May, Thursday, adding "that Sahin is being judged by the military court."
Bulent Yildirim, President of IHH, also spoke the rally.
Yildirim said, Israel has been holding Izzet Sahin "hostage to stop the humanitarian aid flotilla which will sail on the coming days for Gaza."
Yildirim said, “we will be delivering humanitarian aid via ships to the people of Gaza who are under an inhumane embargo. Our actions are completely of humanitarian prospect. According to the Geneva Conventions, Israel does not have the right to stop us. A lot of people including women, children, activists, artists, intellectuals, politicians and journalists will be onboard. Our aim is to put forward the fact that the embargo is nonsense.”
Stressing that IHH is a humanitarian aid organization, Yildirim went on to say, “We do not have any intentions other than delivering humanitarian relief. Izzet Sahin is one of our staff members and representatives. Israeli military intelligence is misleading their own people by accusing Izzet Sahin of working for objectives other than humanitarian relief. We are hoping that the Israeli court will put an end to this illegal imprisonment.”
Ahmet Faruk Unsal, President of Mazlumder, a human rights organization, said, “according to international law, Sahin has been taken into custody within Palestinian territory. What Israel means by this action is that ‘We can arrest Turkish nationals wherever we may please."
"This is a serious insult to Turkish government. In order to establish Sahin’s release, Turkey should effectively interfere in,” he added.
Meanhwile, Turkish government said it has made diplomatic initiatives both in Ankara and Israel after Sahin was arrested by Israeli authorities.
In a written press release, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said Tuesday that diplomats at the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv held talks with Israeli authorities on Sahin.
The MFA also said that the ministry had talks with the Israeli Embassy in Ankara on Izzet Sahin.
"Sahin's trial is being closely monitored by the officials of the Turkish Embassy in Tel Aviv," the MFA said.
We expect Izzet Sahin to be freed from prison at the end of the legal process, the MFA also said.
Sahin has remained in custody for two weeks. Izzet Sahin will appear in court for the third time on Thursday.
Related news reports:Last Mod: 12 Mayıs 2010, 12:36