- Thousands of Turkish citizens participated in a mass rally in Istanbul yesterday evening, Tuesday, to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the killing of 10 Turks on board the Turkish ship "Mavi Marmara" in 2010.

The demonstrators raised red cards, which they said were directed at the Israeli occupation, which continues to occupy the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, kill children in Palestine and impose a siege and closure on the Gaza Strip.

The Turkish Humanitarian Relief Organization "IHH" said that the march, which started from Al-Fateh Mosque in the European section of Istanbul and settled in the Martyrs' Cemetery in the Edirnekapi area, came in honor of the ten Marmara martyrs who rose while trying to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip. And in solidarity with Al-Aqsa Mosque in light of the ongoing Israeli aggression against it.

The organizers explained that the Istanbul march, which they have been organizing as an annual occasion to commemorate the martyrs, this year carried the slogan "The Marmara Ship continues its path", in reference to the organization's insistence on continuing its steps of solidarity with the Palestinian people and the besieged Gaza Strip.

Young men raise two large Palestinian and Turkish flags, a symbol of solidarity between the two peoples during the march (Al-Jazeera)

Messages and indications

The participants in the march chanted slogans condemning Israel and its attacks on the Palestinian people and the city of Jerusalem.

In a sign that bears indications of the Turkish street's embrace of the Palestinian cause, the demonstrators carried a giant Turkish and Palestinian flag in a stacking position in the large Al-Fateh Mosque Square before the start of the march, and chanted slogans in Arabic calling for the punishment of Israel for its "crimes" against the Palestinian people.

The massive Turkish march came against the backdrop of the continuation of the Turkish rapprochement steps with Israel and the efforts to escalate the diplomatic relations between the two countries, which have witnessed a sharp deterioration since the Israeli navy intercepted the Turkish ship at sea while it was heading to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010.

Disagreements also escalated in the wake of the major Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip in 2012, when Turkey criticized Israel, describing it as a country that kills children.

However, calm has returned to the relations of the two countries since the resumption of the normalization path after former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkish President Recep Erdogan for the attack on the ship in March 2013, fulfilling one of the three conditions set by Ankara to resume its relations with Israel.

The following two conditions for restoring Israeli-Turkish relations are summarized in Tel Aviv's offering compensation to the families of the ship's victims and lifting the siege on the Gaza Strip.

Recently, Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited Turkey in response to an official invitation from President Erdogan, and this was followed by a visit by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to Israel.

Ankara considers its rapprochement with Tel Aviv important to the Palestinian cause, which is not seen by the participants in the Mavi Marmara march who call for continuing the boycott of Tel Aviv as long as it continues to oppress the Palestinians.

The participants in the march carried banners bearing pictures of the martyrs of the Mavi Marmara ship in the square of the Al-Fateh Mosque in Istanbul (Al-Jazeera)

In a speech during the rally, the head of the Humanitarian Relief Organization Bulent Yildirim said that "Turkey must abandon the steps of normalization with Israel," adding, "We do not like Israel, and we do not like Zionism."

For his part, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, during a speech at the march, saluted the Turkish people, and said, "The blood of the martyrs of Palestine and Jerusalem will remain in our necks until we liberate Jerusalem and pray at Al-Aqsa." Islamic world.