The İstanbul Bakırköy Prosecutor’s Office has launched a criminal investigation against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,
Defense Minister Ehud Barak
and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi
over the deadly raid
on a Gaza-bound flotilla, Turkish newspaper Zaman reported Saturday.
According to the report, if the prosecutor’s office can compile enough evidence against Israel at the end of its probe, it will charge the Israeli officials with various crimes, including murder, injury, taking hostages, attacking Turkish citizens on the open seas and piracy.
The Turkish newspaper reported that one of the prosecutors interviewed all the injured on Wednesday in a hospital in Ankara except for intensive care unit patients. In addition, the hundreds of activists deported from Israel
were examined at the Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) to provide more evidence about the incident.
The ATK was said to also be running tests to see whether any chemical weapons were used against the activists.
The three main suspects (Photo: Ariel Hermoni, Defense Ministry)
The prosecution is also expected to use the results of an autopsy performed by doctors in Turkey on the nine Turkish men killed in the raid. The Guardian reported Friday that the nine were shot a total of 30 times
and that five of them were killed by gunshot wounds to the head.
According to the Turkish report, the country's foreign and justice ministries are closely following the investigation. To demonstrate that Israel’s intervention was illegal, the prosecutors will emphasize that the ships were in international waters, that the people aboard had waved a white flag of surrender, that the ships were carrying humanitarian aid, and that the passengers did not threaten Israel.
It was also reported that should Israel appoint an investigation committee
into the deadly incident, the Turkish prosecution plans to use its findings.
Meanwhile Saturday, a Turkish government official said his country wanted the upcoming summit for a 20-member security group for the Asian region to condemn the recent Israeli raid, which he said would be discussed during the June 7-8 Conference on Interactions and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, or CICA.
He added that Turkey considered Gaza as well as the situation in Afghanistan as test cases for the security group that includes Russia, Iran, Afghanistan and South Korea.
The Associated Press contributed to this report