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At Gaza flotilla funeral in Turkey, rising anger and eyewitness accounts

Turkish leaders built on earlier condemnations of Israel's attack on the Gaza flotilla, while mourners offered eyewitness accounts that contradicted Israel's version of events.
 

Mourners pray by the coffins of victims of the Israeli raid of the Gaza flotilla, as they are carried at the end of the religious funeral service at the Fatih Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, Thursday.

Ibrahim Usta/AP

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Turkish anger with Israel reached a new high on Thursday during the funeral of "Freedom Flotilla" activists killed by Israeli commandos while trying to break the blockade on Gaza.

Turkish leaders built on their earlier condemnations, asserting that Israel's attack on a Turkish ship had not only caused irreparable damage to the allies' relationship but had exposed the Jewish state "once again" as a perpetrator of crimes against humanity.

Mourners added their weight to that uncompromising line and shared eyewitness accounts that contradict Israel's version of what Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this week called a "bloody massacre." The predawn raid killed nine Turks, including one US-born teenager of Turkish descent.

IN PICTURES: The Gaza flotilla and the aftermath of the Israeli naval raid

“We didn’t expect any such attack,” said Yavuz Cakir, who works with the company that handles the Mavi Marmara – the largest vessel of the six-ship flotilla taken over by the Israeli military to prevent passage to Gaza.

“The Turkish government was also surprised. The world was also surprised,” added Mr. Cakir, who attended the funeral. “The Jewish people and Jewish government shoot easily, and do not respect anyone.”

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