A Turkish public prosecutor said Monday that the Turkish IHH organization drew up a list – reportedly found through Facebook - of Israeli soldiers who were involved in the 2010 raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, the Turkish newspaper Today's Zaman reported on Monday.
Istanbul Deputy Public Prosecutor Ates Hasan Sozen denied reports that the Istanbul Prosecutor's Office asked the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) to identify the soldiers and prepare the list.
“No state institution had such a request, nor does it have any information on this. The prosecutor conducting the investigation has given no such order,” Sözen said told Today's Zaman, adding that the list was handed in by an IHH lawyer.
Sozen was responding to a report in the Turkish Sabah daily that claimed that MIT received a list of Israel Defense Forces soldiers who participated in the raid on the Mavi Marmara, which resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish citizens. The report said that nearly all of the soldiers were identified using Facebook.
According to the earlier Sabah report, Turkish intelligence units, at the request of the prosecutor's office, launched what the report called “a commando hunt” on websites such as Facebook and Twitter, while cross-referencing using pictures taken of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the naval commando base which houses the unit which conducted the 2010 raid.
Next, the Sabah report claimed, Hebrew-speaking intelligence experts examined Facebook correspondences between soldiers suspected of taking part in the raid and their friends, with the soldiers' names confirmed by Turkish intelligence sources within Israel. A total of 174 names were identified using these methods, the report said.
The Sabah report comes amid an ongoing crisis in Israel-Turkey ties, one which Ankara says is perpetuated by Israel's refusal to apologize for the 2010 raid, which resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish nationals.
Speaking on Saturday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that relations with Israel may “never be normal again," telling CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS": "We gave our warnings to Israel. This is the reason for war. This is something you cannot do in international waters. But as a great state, we have been very forgiving. That's why we have been very patient."
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