On Thursday, Today’s Zaman, an English-language newspaper in Turkey,reported that the president of the Turkish aid group that helped to organize the flotilla said that a photographer working for the group “was shot in the forehead by a soldier one meter away from him.” Bulent Yildirimhe, the president of the aid organization Insani Yardim Vakfi (known in English as the I.H.H.), told the newspaper on Thursday after he returned from Israel: “Our Cevdet [Kiliclar], he is a press member. He has become a martyr. All he was doing was taking pictures. They smashed his skull into pieces.” The newspaper added:
Kevin Ovenden of Britain, an activist on the ship that arrived in İstanbul on Thursday, also said a man who had pointed a camera at the soldiers was shot directly through the forehead with live ammunition, with the exit wound blowing away back of his skull.
In another report, the newspaper said that Israeli officials had confiscated images taken by one of its photographers in the flotilla:
A photojournalist from Today’s Zaman Kursat Bayhan who was on board an international aid convoy for Gaza said he tried to hide a flash disk which included the photos from the moments of Israeli attack on the convoy under his tongue to prevent Israeli authorities from seizing it but his effort failed during a medical examination.
The report added, “Bayhan said the journalists in the ship including him tried to protect the video footage and photos they took,” after the ships were seized by Israeli commandos, but “all the materials of the press members, including their passports and identity cards, were taken away.”
The way these accounts diverge from that of Israel’s military would seem to make an independent investigation into the events crucial. That is particularly true since, as The Lede noted on Wednesday, Israel is apparently in possession of much more video evidence than it has yet released.
In a post making the case that Israel should not conduct that inquiry, Noam Sheizaf, an Israeli journalist and blogger, pointed out that journalists in the flotilla seem to have left Israeli custody without any of the video they shot during the raid that might bolster their accounts.
Israel has confiscated some of the most important material for the investigation, namely the films, audio and photos taken by the passengers [and] journalists on board and the Mavi Marmara’s security cameras. Since yesterday, Israel has been editing these films and using them for its own PR campaign. In other words, Israel has already confiscated most of the evidence, held it from the world and tampered with it. No court in the world would [trust] it to be the one examining it.