Turkish Autopsy: 5 on Flotilla Killed by Gunshots to Head

The nine Turkish men killed in the Israeli commando raid on the Mavi Marmara last week were shot a total of 30 times, with five killed by gunshot wounds to the head - according to the Turkish council of forensic medicine which carried out the autopsies for the Turkish Ministry of Justice.

The British Guardian newspaper, which obtained and published the autopsy results, revealed that those killed were hit mainly by 9mm bullets fired at close range.

According to the paper - which goes on to quote Dr. Haluk Ince, chairman of the council of forensic medicine - a 60-year-old man, Ibrahim Bilgen, was shot four times, in the temple, chest, hip and back. A 19-year-old - identified as Furkan Dogan, who also held U.S. citizenship - was shot five times from less than 45 centimeters away, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back.

Cetin Topcuoglu, a 54-year old former Taekwondo champion who worked as a coach for the Turkish national team, was reportedly shot three times - once in the back of his head, once in his hip and once in his belly. His wife, Cigdem, who was with him on the Marmara, said at his funeral on Thursday that she would take part in further flotillas to Gaza with her son.

Dr. Ince explained that all but one of the bullets retrieved from the bodies came from 9mm rounds. Of the other round, he said, "It was the first time we have seen this kind of material used in firearms. It was just a container including many types of pellets usually used in shotguns. It penetrated the head region in the temple and we found it intact in the brain."

The autopsy findings emerged as the last of the British flotilla passengers arrived back home and began telling their stories. A total of 34 of the activists on the flotilla were British.

Ismail Patel, chairman of Leicester-based pro-Palestinian group Friends of Al Aqsa, told reporters that Israel had operated a "shoot-to-kill policy."

He claimed that as soon as the IDF helicopter appeared above the Marmara, "it started using immediately live ammunition" without issuing any warning. He also calculated that, at one point, the Israeli commandos were shooting a person a minute.

Alex Harrison, a Free Gaza activist who was a passenger on the smaller Challenger yacht, crewed mainly by women, said the Israeli fighters used rubber bullets, sound bombs and tasers against them.

Both Patel and Harrison also criticized the British consulate in Israel for failing to provide the activists with sufficient assistance during their detainment in Be'er Sheva. Patel said he was not visited by anyone from the British mission. According to Harrison, the British consul told her Israeli officials had prevented him from visiting any captured Britons.

"I did see the British consul," Harrison said. "He told me that he had been sitting outside the prison all day ... asking for access and had not been given it. I see that as an insult from Israel to the British, that they were denying the British consul the right that citizens have. I also see it as a sign that the British don't have the strength to stand up to Israel."