An indictment prepared by ?stanbul Specially Authorized Prosecutor Mehmet Akif Ekinci last summer seeks 10 aggravated life imprisonment sentences for each of the four Israeli top commanders, including the country’s chief of General Staff, involved in a 2010 Israeli attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine Turks dead.
The trial will start in the ?stanbul 7th High Criminal Court on Tuesday.
The 144-page indictment mentions 10 “slain Turks,” including Süleyman Söylemez, who was among those injured in the raid and who is still in a vegetative state. The document also mentions 490 victims and complainants, including 189 people who were injured in the attacks.
The indictment seeks 10 aggravated life imprisonment sentences for former Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of General Staff Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Naval Forces commander Vice Adm. Eliezer Marom, Israel’s military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin and Air Forces Intelligence head Brig. Gen. Avishai Levi.
Eight Turkish nationals and one Turkish American were killed when the Israeli Navy attacked an international aid flotilla trying to break an Israeli blockade of Gaza in May 2010. Following the attack, Israel’s government set up the Turkel Commission, a commission of inquiry headed by Israeli Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel, to investigate the attack. Turkish leaders dismissed the Israeli investigation, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon repeated the demand for an independent investigation, stating that the Israeli investigation would not have international credibility.
Turkey also established an inquiry, which concluded, in contrast to the Israeli inquiry, that the Gaza blockade and the Israeli raid are illegal. After the Turkish inquiry, Turkey described the raid as a violation of international law “tantamount to banditry and piracy” and described the killings of activists as “state-sponsored terrorism.” Concerning the Israeli inquiry, Turkey said its own commission was “surprised, appalled and dismayed that the national inquiry process in Israel has resulted in the exoneration of the Israeli armed forces.”
Ankara wants an official apology from Israel for the raid and calls for the lifting of the Gaza blockade but both demands have been rejected by the Israeli government so far. With tensions increased, Turkey has expelled the Israeli ambassador and suspended military agreements it had with the country.