Special Prosecutor Mehmet Akif Ekinci will present the Istanbul Seventh High Criminal Court with the charge against the four – former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, former Navy Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom, former Military Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin and IAF Brig.-Gen. Avishai Levi – on Tuesday. They will be tried in absentia.
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Ekinci plans to seek nine consecutive life sentences for each of the four, over the deaths of nine Turkish nationals in the raid, Turkey's Today's Zaman news website said.
According to the report, the 144-page indictment mentions the nine "slain victims" as well as 490 victims and complainants, including 189 people who were injured in the raid.
Israel's inquiry into the raid found that despite the tragic result, there was no fault in the INF commandos' conduct or the legality of the operation itself; but the Turkish inquiry deemed the raid a violation of international maritime law.
Ankara described the raid and its consequences as "state-sponsored terrorism" and the once close relations between Israel and Turkey have deteriorated to an unprecedented low.
The report quoted a past statement by Ankara, released after Israel's Turkel Committee published its findings, saying that it was "Surprised, appalled and dismayed that the national inquiry process in Israel has resulted in the exoneration of the Israeli armed forces."
The trial will further test relations between the one-time strategic allies and has been dismissed by Israel as a "show trial" and "political theater."
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said that Ankara demands an official apology from Israel over the raid, the immediate lifting of the Gaza blockade and restitution for the victims' families, before it considered normalizing relations with Israel once more.
The rift has continued despite US efforts to encourage a rapprochement between the two regional powers whose cooperation it needs to address changes sweeping the Middle East.
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