State inspectors have found around 250 bullet marks on the Mavi Marmara, which was attacked by Israeli commandos on May 31 while en route to Gaza carrying humanitarian aid.
The Israeli attack resulted in the killing of eight Turkish citizens and one Turkish-American.
Media reports claimed that initial forensic inspections revealed that bullet marks were painted over while the ships were held in Israel.
The Mavi Marmara was a part of an international flotilla attempting to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza and bring aid to the Palestinian people and together with two other Turkish ships was released by Israel last week. Following the attack, the Israeli army seized the ships and took them to the port of Ashdod in Israel. After they were returned on Saturday the ships docked at the Mediterranean port of İskenderun. A team of inspectors headed by İskenderun Chief Public Prosecutor Mustafa Ercan began inspecting the ships on Monday in a search for unexploded devices that may have been left on board. According to reports, the ships were also inspected by experts from the Turkish Atomic Energy Agency (TAEK). After the inspections, the ships were returned to their owner, the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH).
The inspection focused mostly on the Mavi Marmara, where the killings took place. The evidence and a report to be filed by inspectors are expected to be sent to the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in two to three weeks. The inspectors collected around 180 pieces of evidence from the ships including bloody clothes. They removed paint from the bullet marks and numbered them. The inspection team was composed of 12 experts, including four engineers and two divers who examined the underside of the ship.
According to reports, a safe on the Mavi Marmara in the pilothouse had been opened after it was broken. The radar equipment and many other items on the instrument panel had also been destroyed. On the ship blood-stained life jackets were found and have been collected by inspectors as evidence.
After the inspections, three containers on one of the other ships were found to have been opened. Some of the passengers’ personal belongings have been recovered, except for laptops, cameras and mobile telephones.
Israeli soldiers have been convicted in Israel for looting several times in the past, such as during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 in which Israel reoccupied almost all of the West Bank. The vice president of the İHH, Hüseyin Oruç, had said that all the missing items will be added to their petition against Israel to the international and Turkish commissions which are investigating the deadly attack.