Turkish prosecutors have completed their investigation into 2010’s raid on the
Mavi Marmara blockade-runner, Today’s Zaman quoted Justice Minister Sadullah
Ergin as saying on Tuesday.
Pro-Palestinian activists attacked Israel
Navy commandos boarding the vessel, who in turn killed nine Turkish activists
(one of them also had US citizenship).
Turkish news reports claimed last
year that intelligence agencies had compiled a list of 174 IDF soldiers who
could be prosecuted for their involvement in the operation.
quoted Ergin as saying that once Turkey’s Justice Ministry receives the names of
the soldiers involved in the raid from its Foreign Ministry, “we will send the
indictments to the concerned courts.”
On February 8, 2011, the report of
Israel’s Turkel Commission that examined the events surrounding the protest
flotilla held that “the naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip... was legal
pursuant to the rules of international law.”
Moreover, the “actions
carried out by Israel on May 31, 2010, to enforce the naval blockade had the
regrettable consequences of the loss of human life and physical
“Nonetheless, and despite the limited instances of uses of
force for which we could not reach a conclusion, the actions taken were found to
be legal pursuant to the rules of international law.”
Turkey threatened to take Israel to the International Court of Justice in The
Hague over the Marmara raid.
Senior IDF officials have said they are
taking legal precautions to protect soldiers and officers who participated in
the operation to stop the Mavi Marmara.
The IDF Military Advocate-
General’s Office established a joint team with the Justice Ministry to study the
UN-commissioned Palmer Report, released in September 2011, which justified
Israel’s decision to impose a sea blockade on the Gaza Strip but also criticized
the navy’s operation to stop the Gaza-bound flotilla.
The report said
that “the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force by Israeli
forces during the takeover of the Mavi Marmara was unacceptable.”
team was studying the legal consequences of the report and possible ways to
provide protections to IDF soldiers.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak had
tried to broker a compromise with Turkey in an effort to minimize the legal
exposure of the commandos.
A senior IDF officer said at the time that the
Palmer Report could serve as the basis for criminal lawsuits against the
commandos who boarded the ship as well as additional senior officers, including
then-OC Navy V.-Adm. Eliezer Marom and then-chief of staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi
Ashkenazi, for their role in the operation.
Both officers are already
vulnerable to legal action due to their involvement in the Cast Lead offensive
against Hamas in the Gaza Strip three years ago.
Yaakov Katz and Oren
Kessler contributed to this report.
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