| Furkan Doğan: Key Fact suppressed in the Israel-Turkey reconciliation story!

Key Fact Suppressed in the Israel-Turkey Reconciliation Story ~ Steve Fake, FOREIGN POLICY IN FOCUS.

It’s often forgotten that of the nine killed by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara in 2010, one was an American citizen.

Mavi Marmara

Certain facts simply do not find purchase in the Western corporate press. A seemingly minor example is furnished in the latest round of reporting on the 2010 Israeli naval assault on the Mavi Marmara vessel. The basic facts are circulating as background for the just announced reconciliation between Ankara and Tel Aviv. (As a side note, the significance of this development is that ruling class solidarity between two important regional allies of Washington is restored, increasing pressure on Iran and others outside the U.S.-led framework). The common boilerplate language states that nine Turkish activists were killed by the Israeli commandos. This is simply false.

To give a sense of how widespread this rendering of the facts is, I have reproduced a series of screen grabs from my news alert on the topic. In the UK, the left-leaning Guardian:


A German publication similar to the BBC World News and France 24 (citing AFP and the AP):


In Canada (citing the AP):


In UK again (citing the major European news outfit, Sky News):


In Israel, Haaretz, which more than any leading newspaper, should really know better:


Not to be outdone by AP, Reuters also included the falsehood:


In reality, one of those nine civilians executed was a US citizen. Furkan Doğan was of Turkish ancestry but did not have Turkish citizenship. Flubbing this detail in the initial round of reporting just after the incident in 2010 would have been understandable. However, by now nearly three years have passed since the attack and there has been plenty of time to absorb the correct set of facts.

The discrepancy is significant because it reduces the Israeli violence to an exclusively Turkish grievance. Reporting the detail accurately casts Washington’s behavior in an odd light. Why has the Obama administration not joined Turkey in expressing opprobrium towards Tel Aviv? Does Turkey care for the safety of its citizens but not the U.S.?

The fact does not serve (indeed undercuts) geopolitical aims and thus it does not do to mention it in press accounts. It is frequently therefore simply filtered out, per the propaganda model of the media. Though the media do not always misstate the fact (e.g. the NYT piece on the reconciliation did not repeat the falsehood), the false version is pervasive. (I have not attempted to quantify the error rate using a database like LexisNexis but I suspect the majority of Western press articles regurgitate the error; and few indeed explicitly mention the U.S. fatality.)

Perhaps, it may be said, the error is not deliberate but born of ignorance and lazy reporting. Nonetheless, it is because the error conforms to propaganda needs that it is allowed to stand uncorrected after all this time. That one of the victims was American is hardly a secret. Even Wikipedia gets the nationalities right. All a journalist would have to do to get the story straight is consult the most accessible reference in the Western world.

Incidentally, it is worth noting that, though many passengers on the Mavi were injured, one man, Uğur Süleyman Söylemez, was shot in the head and remains in a coma to this day. I have seen no indication that he is expected to ever regain consciousness. His fate is virtually never mentioned in press accounts.



Furkan Doğan

Furkan Doğan
Born 20 October 1991
Troy, New York
Died 31 May 2010 (aged 18)
near AshdodIsrael (killed in theGaza flotilla raid)
Nationality American
Occupation Activist
Known for İHH activity
Home town Kayseri
Parents Ahmet Doğan

Furkan Doğan (20 October 1991[1] – 31 May 2010) was a Turkish American who was residing in Turkey permanently.[2] He was the youngest person killed on MV Mavi Marmara ship, in the Gaza flotilla raid and became a political symbol after his death.[3][4]



Early life

Furkan Doğan was born to ethnic Turkish parents in Troy, New York[5][6] in the United States and moved to Turkey at the age of two.[7]

He was a high school student at Kayseri Özel Hisarcıklıoğlu Fen Lisesi in Kayseri, Turkey.[8][9][10] He wanted to study medicine.[11] He had planned to visit New York in the summer of 2010.[12]

His father, Ahmet Doğan, who graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with an MBA in accounting, is an assistant professor of accounting at Erciyes University.[5][13]

Gaza flotilla and Doğan’s death

Dogan was not intensely interested in politics, and his participation in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, was volunteered by himself.[11] He was killed in the Gaza flotilla raid.[14] Doğan’s father said that “Furkan was a US citizen only and he never thought that he would be killed since he was an American citizen.”[2] In his final diary entry written on the ship, he wrote about the beauty of martyrdom:

“It is the last hours to martyrdom, insha’Allah. I am wondering if there is a more beautiful thing. The more beautiful thing is only my mother, but I’m not sure. The comparison is very difficult. Martyrdom or my mother? Now, the hall has been evacuated. So far people were not serious, but they have become serious recently.”[15] [16][17]

An autopsy revealed he had suffered five gunshot wounds, to the nose, back, back of the head, left leg, and left ankle,[18]at a distance of 45 centimeters. He was shot when he was filming the events in the ship.[19] A video from İHH which was posted in many websites including haber7 claims to show a person being shot by IDF soldiers. It is claimed that the person shot was Doğan by haber7.[20] This video was also posted at the on-line news collective This Can’t Be Happening: [3]

The autopsy report was never handed over to US authorities despite repeated requests to that effect.[21]

Reactions to his death

On 3 June 2010, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed his death and said U.S. officials had met with Doğan’s father to express their condolences.[22] Clinton said,

“Protecting the welfare of American citizens is a fundamental responsibility of our government and one that we take very seriously. We are in constant contact with the Israeli Government, attempting to obtain more information about our citizens.”[23][24]

U.S. authorities in Turkey have offered U.S. consular services.[25][26] His funeral service was held at the Fatih Mosque inIstanbul on 3 June 2010[27]

The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) condemned the attack.[28] Ray McGovern questioned Israel’s killing of Americans without being held accountable.[29] The Christian Science Monitor reported that his US citizenship may make it difficult to avoid a diplomatic confrontation between the US and Israel.[30]

The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, criticized the USA Government for being silent after Doğan’s death. He asked: “Why is his death not followed by the USA, is it because of his Turkish origin?”[31]

Center for Constitutional Rights lawsuit

In May 2011, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the U.S. government to release documents related to its knowledge and role in the attack, which it has thus far blocked.[32]


  1. ^ Rotamız Filistin Yükümüz İnsani Yardım Özet Raporu(Report). İHH. 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-25.
  2. a b “Furkan Doğan’ın Babasi Oğlum Amerikan Vatandaşı Olduğuna Güvenip Yola Çıktı”Milliyet, 6 June 2010
  3. ^ Champion, Marc (2010-07-09). “Turkey Buries U.S. Teen Killed on Flotilla – WSJ.com”. Online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
  4. ^ http://www.gazete5.com/haber/baspiskopos-furkan-dogan-mezarini-ziyaret-etti-28-aralik-201-71218.htm
  5. a b “Turkey Buries Flotilla’s U.S. Teen”, Marc Champion, The Wall Street Journal, 5 June 2010
  6. ^ “Troy native among activists slain in Israeli military raid”, Selcan Hacaoğlu and David Rising, Times Union (Albany), 3 June 2010
  7. ^ American citizen, Furkan Dogan, 19, among dead in botched Israeli raid of Gaza-bound flotillaNew York Daily News, by Michael Sheridan, 3 June 2010
  8. ^ “American Furkan Dogan Killed on Gaza Aid Flotilla – ABC News”. Abcnews.go.com. 3 June 2010. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  9. ^ “Furkan Doğan’ın karnesi ailesine iletilmek üzere okul müdürüne verildi”Zaman, 18 June 2010
  10. ^ “Furkan Doğan’ın örnek karnesi”haber7, 18 June 2010
  11. a b Roger Cohen (September 5, 2011). “Israel Isolates Itself”. New York Times. Retrieved 2011-09-06.
  12. ^ “Mourning Furkan Dogan”The Wall Street Journal, 5 June 2010, Nichole Sobechi Demotix
  13. ^ “Yrd. Doç. Dr. Ahmet DOĞAN”. Iibf.erciyes.edu.tr. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  14. ^ “Furkan Doğan’ın ölüm anı!”Gazete5, 16 June 2010
  15. ^ “Şehit Furkan DOĞAN’ın günlüğündeki son sayfa…”,Şehit Furkan Doğan Resmi Web Sitesi, 11 February 2011
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^ “Gaza flotilla attack: Autopsies reveal intensity of Israeli military force”The Guardian, Robert Booth, Harriet Sherwood, Justin Vela, 4 June 2010.
  19. ^[http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/15session/A.HRC.15.21_en.pdf Report of the international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, resulting from the Israeli attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance*] (Report). Human Rights Council. 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  20. ^ A video from haber7 showing how one activist, alleged by some to be Doğan, was shot
  21. ^ US complains requests for Furkan’s autopsy fell on deaf ears
  22. ^ “Thousands in Turkey Mourn Victims of Israeli Raid”,International Herald Trubune, Sabrina Tavernise, 3 June 2010
  23. ^ “Secretary Clinton on Death of American on Flotilla: ‘Protecting the Welfare of American Citizens is a Fundamental Responsibility of Our Government'”ABC News senior White House correspondent Jake Tapper, 3 June 2010
  24. ^ Nicole Gaouette (3 June 2010). “American Citizen Was Shot Dead During Israeli Raid on Flotilla, U.S. Says”.Bloomberg L.P..
  25. ^ Rising, David (3 June 2010). “Turkey honors 8 slain activists, including U.S. teen”. Washington Times. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  26. ^ “Flotilla dead mourned in Turkey”. Jpost.com. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  27. ^ Funeral service for Furkan Doğan
  28. ^ “American Citizen Among those Killed in Israeli Attack on Mavi Marmara”The Salem News, 4 June 2010
  29. ^ “US emboldens Israel to kill Americans”Press TV, 14 June 2010
  30. ^ “Israeli raid on Gaza Freedom Flotilla killed US citizen Furkan Dogan”The Christian Science Monitor, Scott Peterson, 3 June 2010
  31. ^ “Erdoğan’dan ABD’ye ‘Furkan’ sitemi”CNNTÜRK, 12 July 2010
  32. ^ “Rights group brings FOIA suit on 2010 Israeli raid”, Reuters. May 26, 2011. Accessed June 12, 2011



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