U.S. Citizen Among Those Killed in Flotilla Raid: First Reactions

The 19 year old was shot four times in the head

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U.S. citizen Furkan Dogan, a 19-year-old high-school student who was living in Turkey, was reportedly among the nine killed during the Israeli raid on the flotilla headed for Gaza. Turkish media report that Dogan has one bullet in his chest and four in his head, all fired at close range. His death is sure to exacerbate international pressure on Israel and add more fuel to the ongoing debate over Israel's blockade of Gaza. Here are reactions to Dogan's killing and attempts to understand why it happened and what it means.

  • Complicating International Response  The New York Times' Sabrina Tavernise writes, "The development added a new diplomatic complexity as Israel struggled to defuse rising international anger over its raid on six ships seeking to break its blockade of the Gaza Strip. ... As processions of coffins bearing the dead wound through a devout neighborhood of Istanbul on Thursday, accompanied by thousands of Turkish mourners, public anger here seemed undiminished. ... The United Nations has called for a full international inquiry into the raid, but on Thursday, Israeli officials rejected that demand in favor of a narrower, internal investigation."
  • Blame Israeli Leadership, Not Troops  James Joyner suggests that it was the decision to send the troops in at all, and not the specific actions of those troops, that led to the violence. "Lack of strategic thinking is precisely the issue. Die was cast with decision to board." Joshua Foust asks, "is most of the anger is at the leadership for forcing the situation? It couldnt have ended well."
  • Close Quarters Combat Is Ugly  The Center for New American Security's Andrew Exum writes, "in all fairness, I myself have shot someone that many times in close quarters. So I shouldn't rush to judge. Many of us have been in close quarters combat, which is scary and very fast. We shouldn't judge too quickly." He adds in response to a tweet about the chaotic melee on the boat, "One can only imagine. Again, can you imagine being the poor # 2 man on the rope?!"
  • What Will Happen to Dogan's Remains  ABC News' Zoe Magee reports, "Dogan was a high school student studying social sciences in the town of Kayseri in central Turkey. He was born in the United States and moved to Turkey at the age of 2. He will be buried in his hometown tomorrow. Dogan's body was returned to Turkey today along with eight others, all Turkish nationals, who were on board the Mavi Maramara."
  • Eyewitness Report of Violence on Ships  Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal recounts from his experience on the ship that "live ammunition had been used by Israeli commandos as they stormed the ship. He said that he witnessed some of the killings, and confirmed that at least 'one person was shot through the top of the head from [the helicopter] above.'"

Elshayyal was on the top deck when the ship was attacked and said that within a few minutes of seeing the Israeli helicopters, there were shots being fired from above.

"The first shots [coming from Israeli boats at sea] were tear gas, sound grenades and rubber coated steel bullets," said Eshayyal.

"Live shots came five minutes after that. There was definitely live fire from the air and from the sea as well."

He confirmed that some passengers took apart some of the ship's railings to defend themselves as they saw the Israeli soldiers approaching.

"After the shooting and the first deaths, people put up white flags and signs in English and Hebrew," he said.

"An Israeli [on the ship] asked the soldiers to take away the injured, but they did not and the injured died on the ship."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.