A fifteen-ship flotilla including the ship "Mavi Marmara" will set sail at the end of June for the second time to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza. Mavi Marmara, which was subject to Israeli forces' raid on May 31, 2010 while carrying humanitarian aid to Gazan people, arrived Istanbul on December 26, 2010. The ship was restored at the Tuzla Shipyard. Later, the ship was brought to the Halic Shipyard for renovation of passenger seats and conning tower.
Bullet holes and blood stains were left intact out of respect to nine people who lost their lives during the Israeli raid.
The ship will set sail at the end of June as part of a 15-ship flotilla carrying humanitarian aid including medicine, medical equipment, cement and iron.
The aid campaign was launched by 22 relief agencies from different countries including Turkey's IHH Humanitarian Aid Foundation.
Bulent Yildirim, chairman of the IHH Humanitarian Aid Foundation, told the A.A on Thursday, "Mavi Marmara ship set sail from Istanbul for Gaza on May 22, 2010 to open an aid corridor. However, Israeli forces attacked the ship in the international waters. Although a year has passed, the incident kept its place on Turkey's agenda. Nine people lost their lives in the attack. Ugur Suleyman Soylemez, who was seriously injured in the attack, has still been in coma. Unfortunately, we could not come to a judicial conclusion yet because of the double standards by the International Court of Justice. The court declared Libyan leader Gaddafi a criminal of war without losing time. In fact, all Israeli authorities are criminals of war. The Israeli cabinet approved the attack, Israeli Premier Netanyahu ordered it and soldiers raided the flotilla. Now, we decided to send a second flotilla."
"The second flotilla will carry nearly 1,500 human rights activists from 120 countries. There are also Jewish people among them. More than 500 thousand Turkish people applied us to join the aid campaign. There will be not a single weapon even a pocketknife on the ships," he said.
"Our ships have been damaged seriously during the raid. Israel sent back only three ships. Our struggle will continue until all our ships come back," he added.