Tens of thousands of mourners flocked on Thursday to a funeral for Turkish activists killed during an Israeli raid on an aid flotilla, as President Abdullah Gul told an outraged nation that Turkey will never forgive the attack on citizens on international waters.
Coffins of most of those killed, draped in Turkish and Palestinian flags, were brought to Istanbul's Fatih Mosque for the service before the bodies were taken to their home towns for burial.
"We are deeply sad but at the same time we are outraged," said Hulya Sekerci, 36, who came to mourn those who died during the storming of a Gaza-bound convoy by Israeli commandos on Monday.
"Nine people were killed. The whole world must react to this. The government must do more than just speak angry words."
All nine of the dead men -- eight Turks and a Turk with a U.S. passport -- were aboard the Mavi Marmara when Israeli commandos boarded the Turkish ship in international waters.
According to Turkish forensic experts, cited by the Anatolia news agency, all the bodies had bullet wounds.
"Turkey will never forget such an attack on its ships and its people in international waters. Turkey's ties with Israel will never be the same again," Gul told a news conference.
"Israel made one of the greatest mistakes in its history. It will see in time what a huge mistake it made," he said.
One of the dead was to be buried in Istanbul later Thursday while the rest would be flown to their hometowns.
There will be a separate ceremony Friday for the last dead activist at another Istanbul mosque.
The killings of Turks has outraged the Muslim country and brought already strained ties close to breaking point.
Turkey has recalled its ambassador and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, charging Israel with "state terrorism", has called for those responsible for the deaths to be punished.
Other activists, who have given harrowing accounts of their ordeal on the high seas, arrived in Istanbul earlier on Thursday to a hero's welcome by thousands of cheering supporters.
Last Mod: 03 Haziran 2010, 17:32