Report: Turkey set to indict IDF officers over killing of Gaza flotilla activists
Turkish daily says Ankara's prosecutor readies 144-page document that accuses top Israeli officers, including former army chief Gabi Ashkenazi, of ordering intentional killing, wounding of Turkish nationals on Mavi Marmara; charges still need to be approved by Istanbul district prosecutor.
Turkey’s chief prosecutor is expected to charge retired Israeli defense officials, including former army chief Gabi Ashkenazi, for ordering the intentional killing of activists during a 2010 Israel Defense Forces raid of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, a report said on Wednesday.
According to the Turkish daily Sabah, Ankara's chief prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya is due to file a 144-page indictment targeting Ashkenazi, former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, former Israel Navy chief Eliezer Maron, and former head of Israel Air force's intelligence wing Avishai Levy over the raid on the Mavi Marmara, which resulted in the deaths of nine Turkish nationals.
The report indicated that Turkey intended to charge the former officials for ordering IDF troops to intentionally kill, wound, and abduct Turkish activists, as well as encourage their torture and loot their belongings.
Turkey issued warrants against all four former Israeli officers, and they could be arrested on arrival in Turkey, the report added.
Israel's raid of the Gaza-bound flotilla proved a watershed moment in Israel-Turkey relations, with the once staunch allies trading blame over responsibility for the incident.
Turkey has insisted that Israel apologize for the raid and its consequences, as well as pay reparations to the families of those killed; Israel has, thus far, refused to do so.
Sabah's reporter Ibrahim Ayral said Wednesday that Yalcinkaya is expected to submit the indictment to Istanbul's district prosecutor, who would then have to approve it and hand it over to the courts.
Despite the fact that the indictment is still officially pending, the report claimed that Turkey's chief prosecutor indents to demand that ten consecutive life sentences be handed down to each of the named Israeli ex-officers.
Furthermore, the report claims that the expected indictment also includes sections that have no direct link to the charged officers, including historical references to the link between Turkey and Spanish Jews in the fifteenth century, as well as between Turkey and German Jewry during the Second World War.
Another part of the document will provide Turkey's response to claims made against the country by an Israeli investigative panel on the Mavi Marmara raid, headed by former Supreme Court justice Jacob Turkel.
The indictment, the Sabah report said, was complied following the hearing of 600 testimonies, including 490 of the Marmara's passengers as well as family members of those killed in the raid.
Earlier this month, a report in Turkey's Today's Zaman newspaper claimed that Turkish prosecutors have completed their investigation of the IDF's 2010 raid, citing Turkey's justice minister.
According to the Turkey Today's Zaman report, Turkish Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin said that his ministry had requested information from the Foreign Ministry on IDF soldiers to be included in an indictment related to the raid.
Following the raid, Israel established the Turkel Committee to conduct an investigation. The first part of the Turkel Committee's report determined that Israel's takeover of the flotilla had been legal in terms of international law, but criticized the IDF's preparation in advance of the arrival of flotilla as well as the operation itself.
The UN Palmer Report on the Gaza flotilla raid found that the IDF soldiers acted in self-defense, but used excessive force. The report also found Israel's naval blockade of Gaza to be legal under international law.