Wed, June 09, 2010 | Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
Video Recordings of Statements from Mavi Marmara Crew Members about Preparations Made by IHH Operatives for the Violent Confrontation with IDF Soldiers1
1. The videotaped statements of two Mavi Marmara crew members show that preparations for a violent confrontation with IDF forces were put in motion about two hours before the boarding began, when the Israeli Navy hailed the ship and told it to halt.
2. According to the statements, the atmosphere aboard the Mavi Marmara was tense and the crew noticed a gathering on the main deck. When they checked the upper deck they discovered that IHH operatives were cutting the ship’s railings with metal disks they had brought with them into lengths suitable to be used as clubs. The crew members said the activities worried them and that they tried to stop the operatives but were unsuccessful.
3. The following are the statements of one of the ship’s captains and an officer. This bulletin contains the text of the statements and the videotaped interviews.
Interview with Captain Mehmut Tuval of the Mavi Marmara
Interview with Chief Officer Gokkiran Gokhan of the Mavi Marmara
Transcript of Statement:
Gokkiran Gokhan: “I was on the bridge after dark, before anything happened, the third captain and I were sent in the direction of the life boats, where there were a lot of people and a lot of noise. The captain told me something was happening down there, there are noises, go see what’s going on. There were a lot of people. I told the third captain, you are more senior than I, come with me.”
Interviewer: When did that happen?
Gokkiran Gokhan: Around eight o’clock, I don’t know exactly when, but around eight. I went down the stairs with the third captain. We saw a senior person [from IHH].
Gokkiran Gokhan: That guy.
Interviewer: What guy?
Gokkiran Gokhan: That guy. Maybe the third captain knows his name.
Interviewer: The guy from IHH?
Gokkiran Gokhan: Yes, from IHH.
Interviewer: Whose name does he know? The name of the guy from IHH who cut the railings?
Gokkiran Gokhan: No, the third captain knows him from IHH. We [the third captain and I] went together, we saw a lot of people milling around and we asked what was going on.
Interviewer: Did you see them cutting [the railings]?
Gokkiran Gokhan: They [the iron rods] were already cut. It was all over.
Interviewer: Who did the cutting?
Gokkiran Gokhan: I didn’t see.
Interviewer: Who was holding the disk?
Gokkiran Gokhan: The disks were lying in a corner of the stairs and the senior guy [apparently a reference to Bülent Yildirim] was next to them.
Interviewer: The senior guy from IHH?
Gokkiran Gokhan: Yes.
Interviewer: Who did the disks belong to?
Gokkiran Gokhan: I don’t know, they didn’t belong to the ship. We don’t have equipment like that on board. On deck there were metal poles with clips for cables, when I got there they had been cut.
Interviewer: When did this happen?
Gokkiran Gokhan: When it was getting dark. I asked one of them who cut the poles, and he said he didn’t know.
Interviewer: Was the man you asked a crew member?
Gokkiran Gokhan: No.
Interviewer: Did he belong to IHH?
Gokkiran Gokhan: Of course.
Interviewer: You seem to be saying that the people from IHH were in control of the ship. Did the crew need their permission to move around the ship?
Gokkiran Gokhan: Definitely, they [i.e. IHH operatives] didn’t let people they didn’t know move around.
Interviewer: Did they prevent anyone they didn’t know from moving freely around the ship?
Gokkiran Gokhan: Yes, definitely.
Interviewer: And was that from the first moment they went up on deck?
Gokkiran Gokhan: Yes, definitely.
Interviewer: How did the IHH operatives communicate with one another?
Gokkiran Gokhan: When they [the IHH operatives] got on board in Istanbul they brought walkie-talkies with them. They were handed out to the IHH operatives and the crew.
Interviewer: Did you [the crew] get them as well?
Gokkiran Gokhan: Yes, each one worked on a different frequency.
Interviewer: I don’t understand, they didn’t let the passengers and crew go from one deck to another?
Gokkiran Gokhan: They could go anywhere except to the control center they set up on the bridge.
Interviewer: How many IHH operatives were there on the upper deck.
Gokkiran Gokhan: Forty.
Interviewer: The same forty all the time or did they change?
Gokkiran Gokhan: More of less the same forty.
Interviewer: You’re referring to the group that joined the ship in Istanbul?
Gokkiran Gokhan: yes.
1 Follow-up of the June 7, 2010 post “IHH Preparations for a Violent Confrontation with IDF Soldiers.”