'Turkey indicts Israeli commanders over ship raid'

Report says Ankara prosecutor prepares indictment to seek life sentences for 4 former Israeli commanders, including Ashkenazi, over flotilla.

Mavi Marmara Raid 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Mavi Marmara Raid 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel had no response Wednesday to a report in the Istanbul-based newspaper Sabah that a Turkish prosecutor issued an indictment seeking life sentences for former IDF chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi and three other former senior commanders over alleged involvement in the Mavi Marmara raid.
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 Ashkenazi, former head of Military Intelligence Maj.- Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, former Israel Navy head Adm. (res.) Eliezer Marom, and former IAF intelligence head Brig.-Gen. Avishai Levy.
Israel Navy commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara in May 2010 when it was trying to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip. Activists attacked the commandos, and they killed nine Turks (one also had US citizenship).
The 144-page indictment, Sabah reported, had been prepared after testimony from some 600 people, including 490 passengers from the six-ship protest flotilla and relatives of those who died.
Correspondence from the Turkish prime minister’s office, the Foreign and Justice ministries and the intelligence service also helped the prosecutor draw up the indictment, it said.
Turkey had previously said it would try to prosecute all Israelis responsible for crimes committed during the raid, and the prosecutor had written to Israel seeking the names of those involved but had received no answer.
An Israeli Foreign Ministry official said that Jerusalem had no response to the report of the indictment because it had not received any formal information, and all it knew about it was from the Turkish media.
“We have not received the indictment,” the official said.
“If, indeed, an indictment was filed, then after we receive study and understand it, then we can respond. But in the meantime there is nothing for us to say.”
The UN’s Palmer Committee looking into the Mavi Marmara incident found last year that the blockade of Gaza was legal, though it criticized what it said was an excessive use of force in stopping the ship. Israel’s Terkel Committee found that the military had acted appropriately.