USA: Mourning the Loss of American Furkan Dogan, Killed on Flotilla

A school photo of Furkan Dogan. Source unknown.

As the dust settles following the Israeli Defense Forces’ brutal attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, news has emerged of the deaths of nine activists who were aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara.  Eight of the people killed were Turkish nationals, the other a nineteen-year-old Turkish-American dual citizen named Furkan Dogan.  Dogan, who is stated to have resided mostly in Turkey, was shot a total of five times, four in the head at close range.

Jim Buie, an American blogger who resides in Kayseri, Turkey, the same town in which Dogan is from, writes this of his background:

Furkan Dogan, the 19-year-old Turkish-American citizen killed by Israeli soldier(s) aboard the flotilla is from Kayseri. It's so difficult to imagine a “terrorist,” the label Israelis put on the activists who joined the flotilla and allegedly attacked the solders — someone sympathetic to Al Qaeda — emerging from this environment. Moderation, prudence and conformity are bywords in the culture here. Kayseri, the hometown of Turkish President Abdullah Gul, has been enormously friendly and welcoming to me, my wife, and son in the eight months we've been here…

…This young man obviously was a respected member of the community. He was studying at a private high school in Kayseri, similar to the one I teach at, and hoped to become a doctor. He was a neighbor of a student of mine.

For many Americans, the subject of the day is the United States’ relationship with Israel.  On Twitter, @hughsansom notes the United States’ track record in responding to American deaths at the hands of Israel:

American Hugh Sansom addresses his government in this tweet.

Key to any discussion of U.S.-Israeli relations is the amount of money the United States provides the Israeli military in aid, an estimated 3 billion USD per year.  American blogger PoliticalMonkey2010 advocates for the United States to end that relationship:

Five bullets?  Five bullets for an unarmed person?  Were these bullets paid for by the USA?  Were these bullets funded by your tax dollars?  Did these bullets have inscribed on them “to our special friends, love the USA”?  Bullets used on American citizens.

Let me be clear, all of the loss of life on this flotilla is horrific.  No one's life is any greater than another, each of those people who died were somebody’s family and friend.  I am focusing on Furkan because he was an American, I am an American, I don’t care where he lived.  He was an American.

It is time to end our “special relationship” with Israel.  The only thing our relationship with this country does is cost us, it costs American lives, American money, American influence.  If this were a business deal, one would look at it and say, cut it loose, you can’t afford it it any more.  America cannot afford a friend like Israel.

Muslim-American blogger Hijabmaster picks apart the media reports, which have often referred to Dogan as a “Turkish citizen with an American passport.”  Of the distinction, she says:

Now there are only two kinds of people that can have a US passport.  A US national and a US citizen.  ALL U.S. citizens are US nationals but all US nationals aren't US citizens.  U.S. passports issued to non-citizen nationals contains the endorsement code 9 which states: “THE BEARER IS A UNITED STATES NATIONAL AND NOT A UNITED STATES CITIZEN.” on the annotations page.(read Nationals who are not US citizens).  Furkan Dogan's passport did not contain that annotation and therefore is an AMERICAN CITIZEN.  Most likely a dual citizen and choosing to say a Turkish citizen was killed is better than saying AMERICAN CITIZEN.

Stephen Saperstein Frug, whose blog is called Attempts, rejects the Israeli version of events that claimed IDF gunfire was in self-defense.  Referring to Dogan's death, the blogger writes:

If confirmed, it will certainly put the lie to any claim of self defense by the shooter. A bullet in the chest might well be self-defense (by an aggressor, of course — the Israelis shouldn't have been on that ship in the first place, and they were the ones attacking — but nevertheless understandable). A bullet in the head at close range… possibly, probably not but possibly, that's self-defense too.

Three more? That's murder. And calls into question the entire rest of the scenario.

Finally, Richard Silverstein, an American who writes the popular blog Tikun Olam (a Hebrew phrase that means “repairing the world”), wonders aloud if President Obama will do the right thing in response to Dogan's death:

Barack Obama, do you let U.S. citizens be murdered in cold blood by the IDF? What will you do about this? If this were any other country I’d know what to expect: protest, redoubled efforts to end the Gaza siege, engagement with Israel, possibly withdrawing the U.S. ambassador.  That’s what Britain would likely do, as it’s already had the moxie to demand an end to the siege, something our government hasn’t had the courage to do. This incident should bring our policy a lot closer to Turkey’s as we clearly now have shared interests. But will it?

But given the timidity of this government, I don’t know what they’ll do aside from murmuring a bit about it. Face it, our policy is shameful. Dogan’s dead body serves as physical witness to this. Will it spur Obama on to do the right thing–or anything? Your guess is as good as mine.


  • It is terrible to see a young kind hearted man to die like this …..
    was his kitchen knife was so dangerous for IDF ?that they shot him 4 times in his head… nothing can justify an act like this.

  • Alfred Hussein Neuman

    Blog arguments come from a pro-hamas standpoint. This blockade is no different that what Kennedy put around Cuba in the 60’s. The ship could have docked and unloaded supplies within Israel without a confrontation – but the purpose was not about the palestinians. If I am being hit repeatably with iron pipes and someone is attempting to stab me – I’ll squeeze off multiple rounds . That Dogan was shot 5 times at close range shows he was directly involved in attacking the Israeli soldiers.

    Why do leftist hate Israel so? Why do they support countries that hang gays, forbid women to uncover their faces or go to school? Because Israel is a democracy where even Israeli Arabs have rights. And democrat leftists hate democracy. Look at all of the dictators they routinely support.

    • John

      Re: Alfred Hussein Neuman
      There’s so many things wrong with your blind pro-Israel reply.

      The fact that they could have unloaded is a facade. The thing you’re leaving out is that Israel would screen the supplies. Israel refuses to allow needed supplies into Gaza. They’re black listed, for no reason. The World Health Organization has pleaded with Israel to allow basic medical supplies in for the last 6 months with no success.

      Israel refuses to release footage of the shots being fired by the IDF. It’s pretty unanimous among the witnesses that shots were fired before the first soldier landed. Which came first? Shots from the IDF or blunt weapons by the activists? If shots were fired first it gives good reason to defend yourself with whatever you have at your disposal, especially with Israel’s reputation for shoot first, ask questions later. As long as Israel hides evidence we cannot make a proper judgement.

      That being said, how Dare you say such horrible things. You draw fallacious conclusions while the evidence is locked away by Israel, and decide that he deserved his death?

      Label us democracy haters, while Israel refuses to accept the democratically elected Hamas or recognize Palestinian sovereignty. As long as Israel oppresses the Palestinians, and occupies land it has no right to occupy, the Palestinians will revolt. It’s human nature. You can’t just push and push and not expect repercussions. You can’t push, get pushed back, and use it as an excuse to kill a thousand of people in Gaza like Israel did last year.

      I’m an open homosexual. I don’t support hanging gays. I don’t support human rights abuses either. The fact that you need to throw random conclusions and insults in your rebuttal proves you have nothing to offer but hate.

      It’s pathetic that the Jewish community continues to spread hate across the internet in defense of Israel, reacting as if criticism of Israel is anti antisemitism.

      I found the following racist post made by you on another website, which I’d like to point out here. Anyone can find it by google searching your name:
      “As American’s first Arab-black president, confessed drug user and son a muslim, I don’t understand why ASU would not give him an honorary degree.”

      I think this goes to show your true nature.

  • albert john Bowen

    The double standards of the American foreign policy are breathtaking! When Leon Klinghoffer, anpurity American citizen, was murdered on the passenger ship the Achille Lauro in 1985 there was rightly a great outcry and President Reagan even used the Air Force to help to detain the delinquents. Now the Israeli armed forces attack a ship in international waters and kill eight turkish and one American citizen. The reply? A wishy washy reply from Mrs Clinton saying that there should be an “Israeli investigation” !!!!!The Israeli troops confiscated (stole) all the cameras and mobile phones. Could it be that maybe they have something to hide?

  • Dogwood Tree

    Hijabmaster’s complaint about US media identifying Dogan as “Turksih with a US passport” is without merit. All of the stories I have read at ABC News, CBS News, MSNBC, and even Fox News have accurately identified him as a Turkish-American dual citizen. Far from downplaying his US citizenship, many news organizations, including ABC and Fox, drew attention to it by including only the word “American,” not “Turkish” in headlines for stories about his death. Hijabmaster is mistaken.

    The USA is not mourning Furkan Dogan’s death because he spent nearly all of his life in Turkey and had no known ties to the US, other than his citizenship acquired at birth. His violent death has drawn indignation mostly from leftist bloggers and commenters generally critical of Israel and of US support for Israel and complaints like those cited in this post about the lowkey government and public response to Dogan’s death. Rachel Corrie was not only a US citizen but a lifelong resident of the US, and her death at the hands of the IDF went unnoticed by most Americans. There is no reason to expect the US government or the American public to pay particular attention to the death of Furkan Dogan simply because his parents were in the US at the time of his birth and was thus able to register him as a US citizen before taking him back to Turkey to raise him as a Turkish national.

    Unrestricted birthright citizenship decouples citizenship from national identity as illustrated by media reporting and blogosphere commentary on the death of Furkan Dogan.

  • DogwoodTree05

    I had a look a Hijabmaster’s post. It wasn’t she who mischaracterized US media identification of Furkan Dogan. It was you who mischaracterized her post, which clearly took issue with ONE story and did not generalize as you did with the comment, “Muslim-American blogger Hijabmaster picks apart the media reports, which have often referred to Dogan as a ‘Turkish citizen with an American passport’.” This particular report was from Reuters India. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, US media have, in fact, played up Dogan’s US citizenship in headlines, calling him simply “American” or drawing attention to his youth and US citizenship by calling him an “American teen.”

  • Please post all Human rights activists to send aid to Gaza. If 10 ships pirates of IDF can stop, I believe that if 10, 000 aid ship hijacked IDF could not stop. Apart from that plane should be used, although not much help can be enough to drop the Candy sugar and chocolate dropped in Gaza for disadvantaged children, such as what the world was do in Berlin was bloked by USSR during World War II

           Please ship from South America such as Argentina, Brazil, Venuvela and ships from Europe such as France, Sweden, along with ships from Asia Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, traveling together to Gaza! If 200 countries to send aid ship no matter big or small … the restrictions may be overcome because if 10 ships, pirates IDF can stop, I believe that if 10, 000 ships could not help stop piracy IDF

     Peace no war! FREE PALESTINE! Gaza FREE!

  • SAS

    Rest in Eternal Peace Furkan Dogan. May your soul be comforted after your senseless death with the knowledge your sacrifice will neither in vain nor forgotten.

  • Burak

    FURKAN DOGAN was not dual citizen! He was only U.S.Citizen! Not dual, understood?

    • Do you have a source, Burak? Every major news source reporting on this story has referred to Dogan as a dual citizen. I am not implying that that lessens his American-ness in any way, just that he is both an American and a Turkish passport holder. That is a neutral statement.

    • DogwoodTree05

      Turkish websites have called him ABD, American-born Dual.

      I recall reading in an English-language news story on a Turkish website that Dogan had a US passport only. However, he was still Turkish citizen. One can be a citizen without a passport, of course. I don’t know about the laws of Turkey, but the US, Korea, and many other countries do not recognize (but do not forbid) dual citizenship and require their citizens to enter and leave the country using its passport, not a foreign one.

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