A top Turkish government legal official has said that his country’s in absentia trial of top Israeli commanders for their role in May 2010 Marvi Marmara flotilla incident is “political, not really judicial.” The trial will restart Thursday after first beginning in November 2012.
The Turkish government is using a 144-page indictment to seek life sentences for former chief of staff Lt.-Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, former OC Navy V.-Adm. (res.) Eliezer Marom, former OC Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin and former Air Force Intelligence chief Brig.-Gen. (res.) Avishai Levy. The trial will feature the testimony of about 490 witnesses.
“What does Turkey want with this? Maybe they’re waiting to [see] what the next government looks like,” the official told the Jerusalem Post anonymously, adding that the Turkish government is ignoring the UN’s Palmer Report on the Marmara incident, which stated that Israel had the legal right for the blockage under international law.
Any Israeli violations of the law regarding armed conflict on a vessel were worsened by the fact that Israeli Navy sailors were attacked on the ship, the official said.
“The trial is being used for cynical political processes,” he said. The Israeli government has previously referred to this trial as a “kangaroo court.”