A Turkish prosecutor has prepared an indictment seeking life sentences for four former Israeli military commanders over their alleged involvement in the 2010 killing of nine Turks on a Gaza-bound aid ship, Turkish newspaper Sabah reported on Wednesday. No other source has confirmed the report.
Sabah said it had seen details of the indictment prepared by Istanbul state prosecutor Mehmet Akif Ekinci and that it called for 10 life sentences to be given to each of the four commanders. It said the Istanbul chief prosecutor must approve the indictment before it is sent to the relevant court.
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Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu confirmed the report Wednesday. "Turkey is committed to protecting its citizens' rights both on the national and international levels," he told a New York press conference.
Davutoglu noted he was briefed about the indictments by the Turkish justice minister and stressed that Ankara will continue to demand Israel's apology for the killing of nine Turks, regardless of the legal proceedings.
The indictment was reported to accuse Israel's former Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, former Navy commander Eli Marom, former Air Force official Avishai Levy and former Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin all involved in the raid and refers to them as "fugitive suspects", Sabah reported.
Marmara. Commanders charged with murder, torture (Photo: AFP)
The charges include first degree murder, assault and torture.
The 144-page indictment, it said, had been prepared after testimony from some 600 people, including 490 passengers from the six-ship flotilla and relatives of those who had died.
Soldier brutalized by 'activists' (Photo: AFP)
Correspondence from the Turkish prime minister's office, the foreign and justice ministries and the intelligence service had also helped the prosecutor draw up the indictment, it said.
The indictment suggests that should the four arrive in Turkey they would be immediately arrested. Sabah said that Turkey is demanding 10 life sentences (and not nine, for the nine activists who were killed) because one of the victims has been in a coma since the raid.
In the indictment's third part which details Turkey's relations with the Jews throughout history, the prosecutor notes that the Ottomans took in the Jews that were expelled from Spain and that Turkey had accepted Jews during the Holocaust and saved some 20,000 Jews from death camps by issuing them passports. Based on this he concluded that Israel owes its very existence to the Turkish republic.
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