Turkish paper releases 'censored' photos of beaten Israeli commandos
Turkey's highest circulating paper, Hurriyet, reports that photos were deleted by Israel, but restored by Turkish activists.
Turkey's highest circulating newspaper Hurriyet on Sunday released photos of Israeli navy commandos who had been embroiled in the clash aboard the Gaza-bound Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara last week.
The Israel Defense Forces released a video depicting the activists aboard the ship attacking the navy commandos. The activists argued that they had been attacked first. Nine activists were killed in the melee, and dozens, including Israeli soldiers, were hurt.
The photos published by Hurriyet on Sunday, under the headline "tears of a commando", Israeli soldiers are seen beaten and bleeding, being carried below deck by Turkish activists.
In the accompanying article, the paper reported that the photos had been censored and deleted by Israeli fighters aiming to prevent embarrassment for Israel and the IDF, but the activists were able to restore them. The paper further reported that in some of the photos, activists belonging to the IHH organization are seen caring for the wounded soldiers.
IHH is the group that organized the flotilla that attempted to carry tons of aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip last week. The Mavi Marmara was one of eight ships that participated in the effort.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit issued a response to the Turkish photos, saying that the "published pictures serve as clear and unequivocal proof of Israel's repeated arguments that aboard [the Mavi Marmara] were mercenaries who intended to kill Israeli soldiers."
"The photos would have looked different if the soldiers had chosen to shoot every citizen that came their way," the statement continued. "It was only out of empowerment and a deep understanding of the event that the navy commandos were able to tell the difference between peace activists and terrorists."
Meanwhile, senior officials in the Israeli Foreign Ministry said Saturday that Israel has no intention of apologizing for the Mavi Marmara raid. The remarks were made in the wake of Turkish threats to sever diplomatic ties with Israel if the latter failed to apologize for harm caused to Turkish citizens.