ISTANBUL - Thousands of mourners hailed activists killed in an Israeli commando mission as martyrs yesterday, hoisting their coffins to cheers of "God is great." Meanwhile, Turkish leaders said Israel had jeopardized its relationship with its closest Muslim ally, despite meeting Ankara's demand to release the hundreds captured in the raid.
The father of the youngest of the nine activists killed - high school student Furkan Dogan, 19, who had dual U.S.-Turkish citizenship - praised his son for dying in a just cause. Ahmet Dogan told the state-run Anatolia news agency he identified his boy in the morgue and he had been shot through the forehead. Still, he said, the family was not sad because they believed Furkan had died with honor.
Furkan Dogan, who was born in Troy, N.Y., but moved to Turkey when he was 2, was to be buried in his family's hometown of Kayseri in central Turkey today.
He was one of eight activists mourned at the massive funeral, which came as Israel rejected demands for an international panel to investigate its deadly takeover Monday of six aid ships trying to break Israel's three-year blockade of the Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hotly rejected calls to lift the blockade on Hamas-ruled Gaza, insisting it prevents missile attacks on Israel. - AP