American teenager among those killed in Israeli raid of aid flotilla
Friday, June 4, 2010
One of the nine activists killed by Israeli commandos aboard a Gaza-bound aid flotilla was a teenager who held U.S. citizenship, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday.
The disclosure further complicates the fallout from the incident, as the death of an American overseas can prompt a U.S. government investigation. Until now, the Obama administration has backed Israel's assertion that it can conduct its own inquiry.
Clinton identified the victim as Furkan Dorgan, 19. He was born in Troy, N.Y., while his father, Ahmet Dorgan, was pursuing an MBA at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The elder Dorgan received the degree in 1992, according to his Web site at Erciyes University in Kayseri, Turkey.
Furkan Dorgan apparently returned to Turkey at age 2 and held dual citizenship. Turkish media reports said he attended Kayseri science high school and had been accepted to a university for the fall. He wanted to be a doctor.
"Our ambassador to Turkey, Ambassador Jim Jeffrey, has been in contact with the family," Clinton told reporters. "We've offered not only our heartfelt condolences but any kind of consular assistance that the family might need at this time."
She said that another U.S. citizen was injured on one of the ships and that a third -- later identified as Emily Henochowicz, 21, of Potomac -- was hurt during a subsequent protest of the incident. According to Israeli media reports, Henochowicz lost an eye after being hit by an Israeli tear-gas canister.
"We have made no decisions at this point on any additional specific actions that our government should take with respect to our own citizens," Clinton added, but she renewed her call for "a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation that conforms to international standards."
Ahmet Dorgan, an accounting professor, told the state-run Anatolia news agency that he had identified his son at a morgue and that he had been shot in the forehead. But he did not express sadness. "I feel my son has been blessed with heaven," he said. "I am hoping to be a father worthy of my son."
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Dorgan died of "gunshot wounds," but he declined to confirm Turkish media reports that he was shot four times in the head and once in the chest at close range.
Israeli officials had no comment on Dorgan's death, saying they did not make the identification and did not examine the bodies before turning them over to Turkish officials.
Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.