May 29, 2012
Turkish criminal court accepts indictments against Israeli commanders
A Turkish criminal court accepted indictments against the four top Israeli commanders who led the 2010 raid on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship.
İstanbul’s 7th High Criminal Court on Monday unanimously accepted the indictment submitted last week by a special Turkish prosecutor, according to the English-language Turkish news service Today’s Zaman.
The 144-page indictment seeks 10 aggravated life jail sentences against former Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi; Navy commander Vice Adm. Eliezer Marom; military intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin; and the head of Air Force intelligence, Brig. Gen. Avishai Levi.
The soldiers who carried out the raid are expected to be named in a separate indictment, following an ongoing investigation, according to Zaman.
The indictment mentions 10 “slain Turks.” Nine Turkish nationals, including a Turkish-American man, were killed in clashes during the raid. The 10th person is a man who remains in a vegetative state, according to Zaman. The indictment also reportedly refers to 490 victims and complainants, including 189 who were reported injured in the attacks.
Israeli Navy commandos on May 31, 2010 boarded the Mavi Marmara, which claimed to be carrying humanitarian aid, after warning the ship not to sail into waters near the Gaza Strip in circumvention of Israel’s naval blockade of the coastal strip.
Israel’s government-appointed Turkel Commission found in its investigation that the government and the military behaved appropriately, and that the blockade of Gaza was legal.
The United Nations’ Palmer Committee also found the blockade to be legal but said Israel used excessive force while boarding the vessel.
Turkey’s inquiry deemed the Gaza blockade and the Israeli raid to have been illegal. Ankara has called on Israel for an official apology and compensation for the raid, and to lift the Gaza blockade. The two countries have broken off diplomatic relations and military agreements since the incident.