Turkish Court Closes Case Against Israeli Army Top Brass Over Gaza Flotilla Raid

As part of rapprochement deal between Turkey and Israel, court also cancels international arrest warrants against former top officers who were charged with murder for their involvement in Mavi Marmara raid.

AP

A Turkish court trying a case against Israeli army officers for their involvement in the takeover of the Gaza flotilla in 2010 decided Friday to close the case and drop the international arrest warrants against them.

The Istanbul court's decision came as a result of the June 2016 rapprochement deal between Israel and Turkey. As part of the parliament-ratified agreement, Turkey passed a law annulling all legal claims against Israeli soldiers and officers over the Mavi Marmara raid, in which nine Turkish activists were killed.

The Turkish Justice Ministry informed the courts about a week ago that the government's position was that the cases had to be closed. The families of the Turkish citizens who died during the flotilla takeover strongly protested the closure and said that the Turkish government had abandoned them, despite the fact that the reconciliation agreement included the payment of reparations from Israel to the families for $20 million.

The four highest-ranking Israeli officers who had faced murder charges and arrest warrants in Turkey were former Chief-of-Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, former Navy chief Eliezer Marom, former Air Force intelligence chief Avishai Levy and former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin. All were in office during the Turkish flotilla. The Turkish prosecution had demanded each to be given nine consecutive life sentences. 

The case's dismissal is the latest step toward normalized ties between the two countries. Eitan Na'eh, Israel's new ambassador to Turkey, arrived in Ankara two weeks ago, becoming the first senior Israeli envoy in the Turkish capital since September 2011.