Turkey charges Israeli soldiers for flotilla raid
Published Monday, May 28, 2012
A Turkish court has formally pressed charges against members of Israel's military for the killing of nine unarmed activists aboard a Turkish ship trying to break Israel's blockade of Gaza in 2010.
Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency says the court in Istanbul voted unanimously Monday to approve an indictment against Israel's former military chief Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, along with the heads of its navy, air force and military intelligence.
It has said they face nine consecutive life terms in prison for "inciting to kill monstrously, and by torturing."
Israeli military members are unlikely to stand trial in Turkey but the court might issue an order for their arrest if they are convicted in absentia.
The move comes just a few days ahead of the second anniversary of the May 31 raid.
The killings ruptured the longstanding alliance between Turkey and Israel, with Ankara insisting on an apology from Israel.
Israel has offered compensation for the victims, but refused to apologize, prompting Turkey to expel Israel's envoy, suspend military ties and downgrade relations.
Since then Turkey, led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been a fierce critic of Israel's harsh occupation of Palestinians, ending decades of Turkish support for Israel.